Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Kindness Begins With Me

My number one goal as a mother is to teach my children to be kind. That one concept, that one single Christlike attribute is the most important thing that I want them to be.

Nothing feels quite so good as being kind and on the other hand receiving kindness is pretty good too.

For example.

Kaden's scout master is not one of those young scouter Dads. He is a grandpa, he spent more than 20 years in the military and he is an amazing, humble, loving scout leader. Kaden has been serving as the deacons quorum president and has really loved his calling. The Deacons were incharge of the big combined activity for the month of September and Kaden worked hard to put on a really fun activity. This is no small feat since our ward as about 100 youth. He had meetings, made phone calls and made sure all the details were worked out.

Since Kaden uses my phone to communicate with the scout master I often intercept text between the two of them. The morning after the big activity I got this:

Kaden, I wanted you to know what Brother Stapley said to me last night as we were cleaning up. He said, "Boy Kaden sure did a really great job tonight, even up in front of all those youth he didn't hesitate or falter." He is right you know. As you continue to exercise faith your confidence will grow with men and more importantly your confidence will wax strong in the presence of God. Well done my friend, keep up the good work and this will be a great time of preparation for future priesthood service."

Tears rolled down my cheeks. This simple note of kindness for my boy felt like a part of the load of parenting had been lifted off my shoulders for a bit and carried by this good leader. I often feel like Scott and I are the only adults in our kids life that are building them, cheering them and encouraging them along. So to have Brother Holgate take some of that task and make it his own meant the world to me.

Example number 2:

My little brother Josh is in the trenches. He has a 2 year old son and one more due any day and he is in his first weeks of Dental school. The weight of the world is on his back and his schedule is heavy and tight. The pressure he is feeling right now is tremendous, yet twice in the last weeks I have received sweet notes from him. It's hard to believe someone under the strain he is under could still take a few minutes to stop and lift someone else. But he did.

So many days I feel stretched thin just meeting the needs of my own family. Just keeping up with life inside my four walls. I realize that I probably miss the chance to be kind to others just because my head is buried in my own family. I need to do better and I need to reinforce this with my kids more.

Everyday when they get out of the car for school I say,

"Do something nice for someone today." or "Be a friend to someone who doesn't have one."

But rarely in the after school chaos do I say,

"Who did you help today?" or "whose friend were you today?"

That is going to change.

I am planning a big family night to really talk to their hearts about being kind and searching out the chance everyday to love someone.

I am going to show this clip to them. You should watch it with a tissue.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Remember, Remember

I should write about yesterday.

It was a doozy.

It started Sunday evening when I started not feeling all that good. By 1am I was in a ton of pain and I knew exactly what was wrong. I alternated from the bath tub to the couch all night until somewhere around 4am when the pain became near the unbearable point. So I drove my self to the nearest 24 hour drug store, in the dark, to get some temporary relief until I could call the doctor in the morning.

The medicine helped just enough to take the edge off and Scott and I fumbled through getting the kids up and off to school. I could barely just lay on the couch and point to the general direction of the lunch supplies and breakfast items.

It was a difficult hour full of every inconvenience possible and I was so glad when Scott drove off to school with our 4 big kids. I got Cali a supply of snacks and drinks, put a movie on for her and locked us in the TV room. I collapsed on the couch and waited for the magic hour that I could call the doctor.

I hate being sick more than anything in the world. It was almost noon when I was able to stumble out to my car, coax Cali into her car seat and drive to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription. After I had had a double dose of antibiotics in me I put Cali down for a nap and crawled into bed. I was still in my pajamas with unbrushed teeth and day old mascara under my eyes.

At 3:30 I heard the bus pull up so I wobbled out of bed just to tell the kids that Dad would be home soon, to be good and not let any friends in the house. I gave my speech and then my heart dropped as I looked around and said,

"where is Ella?"

My big kids just looked dazed and confused and looked at each other but didn't respond so then I yelled,

"Where is Ella?"

The only answer I got was, "We saw her in the bus line."

After checking the house and calling the school without getting an answer I grabbed my keys and left for the school still in PJ's and with out even a glance in the mirror and going on 30 something hours of no sleep.

I flung the door to the office open and by this time I had broken out in a crazy down pour of sweat, I was literally dripping. Mr. Brown, our wonderful principal was at the attendance desk and I practically screamed,

'Mr. Brown, Ella didn't get off the bus!"

He went straight to work radioing the busses and I ran for Ella's class room.

Her teacher was just leaving and I yelled,

"Mrs. Heyse, where is Ella?"

She looked at me worried and said, 'I don't know I put her in the bus line."

It was around 3:45 by now and I figured in my foggy head that it had been at least 30 minutes since anyone had seen her. Scott was on his way to the school and after 10 or so minutes of calling bus drivers it was clear that Ella was not on any of the school busses.

I was sobbing by now in my disgusting state of unshowered sickness and I just whimpered to our principal,

"Scott will be here soon, I am going home to check the neighborhood."

He reached for my arm and said,

"She'll be OK, we'll find her"

As I drove home, I cried as I thought about Scott calling the police and us having to search through neighborhoods where she may have gotten off at a wrong stop. I set the kids out to check all the neighbors houses and pealed off my dripping wet clothes, then I collapsed near my bed and begged Heavenly Father to help us find Ella.

My neighbor Holly came to the door after running down the scorching hot side walk in her bare feet and just as she came in Scott called to say they had found her. It was 4:31-- over an hour since anyone had seen her. I sobbed while Holly reassured and calmed.

Ella had decide that it would be fun to attend the after school dance class that her friend gets to go to. The office had paged her several times but the music in the dance room made it so she never heard the pages. Ella's sweet teacher had been making a room to room check when she found Ella in the dance room completely unaware that we had been frantically searching for her.

An hour later Holly delivered a full meal including dessert and I showered and went to bed.

Today I feel so much better and I have that wonderful peaceful feeling of gratitude.  Almost 100% of the time I am healthy and feel good. I get to take care of my family and home and I have a body that lets me enjoy all of the good things that life has to offer. What a gift that is!

Also, I have 5 healthy kids that ALL went to sleep under my roof last night safe in their beds. I can hardly stand the thought of there being a single day that I do not remember to be grateful for that gift.
When we wake up in the morning we just assume that we will get to go to bed that night with everyone still safe and happy, I take it for granted too much.

I really hated yesterday but I am glad for the reminder of how good, ordinary, boring days and I am so grateful for loving neighbors, kind teachers an amazing principal and an all knowing Heavenly Father that lets us learn and grow and remember.

Friday, September 13, 2013

About the Rug

So about that rug.

We have lived in our wonderful new house for 10 months. And I have been looking for a rug for the living room for at least 48 months. Almost every date night that Scott and I go on we stop by different places and look at area rugs. You should also know that I have searched the Internet as well. I email Scott different possibilities and he emails me some too.

And here is where I will say that Scott has himself a case of the colorblindness. I don't think his is as bad as some of his brothers but lets just say that his world is colored entirely different than mine at any rate.

He usually sends me stuff like this.

And then I just say,

"Oh thanks but that wont work."

So the other night I casually say, "Lets go look for rugs."

To which Scott smiles and says,

"Your chance for picking a rug is expired."

I laughed so hard. He is such a good sport and really, my rug finding time has probably maxed out.

Tuesday night Scott takes Brylee to swim team, he usually stays and watches her. But last Tuesday night he got bored, so I am told, and so he went to browse at Lowes. Seems about right.

And after swim practice my husband waltzes in the house with a big area rug bent over his shoulder.

"Is that a rug?" I say. Sure that my colorblind husband who has a preference for certain 80"s type decor has not really gone and purchased a giant area rug at Lowes...without me. Surely he has not.

Surely he has.

We moved the couch and I cleaned months worth of...

lost paci's
a pet shop
a few raisins
a measuring cup
and food particles
of unknown

Eww, from under the couch.

We roll that puppy out and--holy colorblind husband I done love that rug!

I don't know how he did it but he did.

I vacuumed it out put the couch back into place and said,

"You did good Boy."

Miracles never cease around these parts!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Blessings During the Test

(A post written weeks ago that I am just now getting to...)

Ugg, my mind has been all jumbled with so many different thought trains these last few days and weeks that I am not sure if I should write about picking a rug for the family room or my deepest thoughts on religion and its place in my heart.

I mean really, I think I could bring you to tears on either subject.

The pendulum of life swings far sometimes doesn't it? We have our good problems like: my laundry is over flowing because I have a house full of healthy children and closets full of comfortable clothes. A good problem but still a challenge. And we have our difficult problems like death, health issues and maybe the worst of it is the problems that you CANT say anything about. The heartache that hides when you are with friends and family. The heartache that no one sees and no one knows about.

And so we talk about rugs and laundry.

I was in the temple the other night. I had known that the church had updated the 20 year old film used to portray the creation and the story of Adam and Eve in endowment sessions and I was looking forward to seeing it. It is word for word identical with the only change being the actors and scenery.  Afterword in the Celestial room I told Scott that the film was distracting to me because I recognized a few of the faces. Before I could think of them as Adam and Eve instead of "so and so" from 9th grade.

I fretted about it all through the night and into the next day until I was vacuuming the family room. I get my best thoughts while vacuuming. I realized in a moment of clarity that going to the temple isn't about those actors, it isn't even about Adam and Eve or the creation, it's about the name I am holding in my hand and the promises that I have made and that is it. It is simple and beautiful and it's only us people who complicate things.

I discovered that I actually feel the same way about faith in general. It is simple and it is the same for everyone everywhere in every moment of time since the beginning. Be like Jesus Christ. Have Faith in an Older Brother that we do not remember and that we haven't seen but that loves us and has provided a way for every person ever to overcome the laundry piles and the unseen sorrows of this life. Not just a few of us but ALL.

Are there rules, yes
Are there expectations, yes
Is there proof, of course not

He could provide proof if He wanted to and some would argue that He has but He asks us to have faith.

Most of life is HARD and of course it is. Anyone can have faith and do what is right in an easy situation. It's like the 6 year old that gets what he wants at the store, it's easy to be good then. Its when we don't get what we want or even have what we need that true character is revealed. He wants to test us and see if we will love Him through the HARD, trust Him through the sorrow and seek Him through the confusion.

And through those darn laundry piles.

But what I love the most is that He knew this would be hard for us and so He gives us blessings and tender mercies to soften the test. It reminds me of my 5th grade teacher that would pass out fun little surprises for everyday of the week of our standardized testing. A week long test! On Monday it was a cool pencil with one of those fuzzy things on the top. Tuesday it was GUM! The only day of the year that she allowed it. Wednesday it was balloons filled with flour to sqeeze out the frustration. Thursday it was a personal note of encouragement and Friday it was a pizza party as a celebration that we had made it!

Heaven does this too!

So that even though we can have a million things to worry about and feel sorrow over we also have joy. The joy that comes only from a loving God that has been felt throughout the ages in the darkest of prisons, in the most hellish of wars, in the pit of poverty and even in the perils of prosperity with our shiny front loading washers and dryers.

I do the same for my children.

Brylee struggles with Math. She isn't good at it. The other day she sat at the table for hours working slowly through a couple pages of Math. I was in and out dropping off and picking up. I know she felt alone and I know she thought I didn't see her plight. When I finally had a minute I said to her,

"Brylee, I know how you feel. I know that when you look at that page it looks like it is written in Chinese. I know that even when someone explains it to you it still is a jumble of confusion in your mind. I know how it feels because I have the same exact problem. I have been there."

I invited her to bring her book outside while we watched the kids swim, sometimes fresh air can make all the difference. I watched her fight tears from my lifeguarding post:

I couldn't take the homework away and I couldn't do it for her. But I pulled my chair up next to her and became a cheerleader, counting down the problems and hyping up the promised reward of a refreshing swim with me when she was done.

He cant take away the hard but He sure offers those beautiful blessings and tender mercies all along the way. Making our success possible, cheering us on and marking the safe path home.

I cant offer my kids a whole lot. I don't have a degree, I haven't traveled very far, I haven't had a career, I don't play an instrument. I am not a success as far as the world judges but I can offer my faith.

And I will.

And I will savor the sweet and the tender and the blessings that make the rest bearable. Last week it was the dripping wet giggles in the pool as the sun went down.

This was so funny, Kaden was such a good brother acting so surprised
every time he got nailed in the head by the water gun

I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the
Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us.
David A Bednar