Friday, October 30, 2015

Tender Mercies-Sleep and TLC Edition

Sunday night I had a break down. I felt the hugeness of the week ahead of me and I felt like I might drown. So much to do, so many needs and details and responsibilities to take care of and I wasn't sure I was up for the task. After going to bed I had one of those familiar, toss-turn, toss-turn MORNING! type nights. I wasn't surprised, stress and anxiety attack my sleep big time and since I am already a light and sensitive sleeper stress can mean zilch sleep for me. No surprise there but it certainly didn't help the feeling of panic I already had going into the week.

And true to my expectations this week has been nigh unto insanity, so I have hardly sat down and barely slept and last night as dinner time approached I was feeling it. Feeling IT! My throat felt dry and scratchy, my bones felt achey and my muscles felt tense and tired. I wanted to cry. At 8;30 we were still waiting on a Young Women's assignment to get finished up and still finishing homework but I was done, completely spent so I crawled into bed with kids still up and lights still on. Ella was standing next to me asking me questions as she did her math worksheet and in my foggy over-tired brain I was trying to add and subtract and help her finish. It felt like the 2nd grade math was physically hurting me. Math, Dude, why do you have to be such a pain!? 

While I laid there with my eyes shut I could tell things were finally winding down in the house. Branson had checked all the locks and came in my room to say good night, he sat down on the side of the bed for a few minutes and began rubbing my feet. I almost cried at the relief. Then Ella joined in and rubbed my other foot and when Kaden came in to say good night he gave me his classic 2 minute shoulder rub that is to-die-for. I mumbled a desperate thank-you as they filed out and then I whispered a quiet prayer that I would be able to sleep-its all I had left in me.

At 5 am I rolled over and looked at the clock and realized that for the first time that I can remember I slept an entire night through. I slid out of bed and knelt down to pray and I could tell that all of the pain, acheyness and tired from the night before had lifted. Tonight is our huge ward/neighborhood Halloween party that my Primary Presidency and I have been planning and working on for the last month, its a big under taking and I really could not have finished today without rest. Tender Mercies can literally flood into our lives when we need them. My angel kiddos being so instinctively tender like they just knew I needed a little special care and a good nights rest have made everything right in the world.

Prayers are answered, help is available, relief comes and tender mercies abound if we will only take a minute to notice them.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Meaningful Busyness

Over the weekend we went to our wards Young Mens talent show. It was so good! These kids are amazing! Branson and his buddy Tanner did a gymnastics routine that was so fun to watch, it was unique and different from all the other talents which made it even better.

Kaden and Noah did a piano duet but they really hammed it up making it completely entertaining. They had a fist fight, shoved each other off the bench and all the while kept playing their piece, it really was a complete hoot to watch but also full of skillful piano playing.

The show made up for all the busyness of a really crazy Saturday. We had a blood drive, a baptism, a bulk meat order to pick up, Kaden had to get to and from work and I had three different food assignments for 2 different events. The weekend was full! When I woke the kids up for scriptures bright and early today I really wasn't ready for the week to start. While we were listening to Mosiah chapter 5 I looked down and saw Cali and Brylee snuggled on the same pillow listening quietly. I had a moment of feeling really thankful for these 5 kids and for the gospel of Jesus Christ that gives meaning to all the craziness that life has to offer. I am so thankful for it.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Some advice for the children on two things that I have occupied my mind this week. The first is less important but it bugs me just enough to mention and the second is crucial:

One: I don't watch you guys every second of your lives. I think I have taught you well and loved you tons and so as long as you continue to deserve it you have lots of freedom. Dad and are are mostly home but once in a while we leave and you all do just fine without us for a few hours. But what in the world are you all doing to the couch when I am gone? Having 4 course meals and dropping most of it? Brushing the leftovers that could feed a hungry nation between the cracks? You see I moved the couch the other day and horror of horrors....

I mean what kind of people are we? We are storing weeks worth of crumbs and debris under the couch and its gross. I work so hard to keep our house clean, from an above the couch view one would never guess what is lurking beneath. Please at least get a plate when you choose to snack on the more giant handfuls of chips, popcorn and apparently trail mix, really guys its gross.

Two: There is nearly never a good reason to take a lone selfie. I cant stand that word and I cant stand the obsession that people have these days with photographing themselves. Don't spend time perfecting poses, or expressions or outfits. Spend your time thinking of others and looking for ways to lift them up. BE YOU. Don't be what you think will get the most "likes" on Instagram. You are the real deal. I know you, I have known you longer than any other human being on Earth and I know that you are AMAZING in REAL life because of what and who you are on the inside. I am so thankful that so far none of you have fallen into the social media/selfie trap. Keep it up! Fun fact about your Mom...I have never ever taken a lone selfie. Take pictures together, with and of others, make memories, have fun and definitely keep a record but watch out for the selfie bug!

So there you have it kids! A note on under couch cleanliness and a vital life lesson all in one.

You are so welcome!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Beach Break

Whoever came up with the two week Fall Break deserves a kiss. Oh how we all needed a good long rest from the school week schedule. And oh how I needed to spend some time away with my people.

The whole first week of break we quite literally rested. Slept in, watched movies, ate snacks, swam in the pool, took naps and IT WAS AWESOME. So good to be off the schedule. Kaden still had swim practice twice a day but that was a cinch compared to the schedule that we usually keep.

Friday night we used our POGO passes and went to the Diamond Backs game. Scott and I used to be devoted faithful fans of the Diamond Backs. I kept their game schedule on my fridge and never missed a game on TV, one year Scott's work got season passes and we went to a ton of games. I haven't followed them in a few years but I still love to go to the games. We got KILLED by the Houston Astros, 23 to 5 and when Scott was explaining that we weren't winning to Ella she burst into tears and yelled, "now we are going to lose and Texas is going to brag!"

Bragging is the worst part of losing when you are a 2nd grader.

We stayed to the bitter end and really enjoyed the fireworks show after the game.

I spent the next two days listening to General Conference on my headphones, while I cleaned and packed and then we drove West to the Ocean. What a great feeling it is to have all my kids and Scott packed into the car. I love driving AWAY.

One reason we love California is because the beach is free and it is fun for all our different ages and personalities. All you need is shade, sunblock and a load of snacks and you are good for an entire day.

In the evenings we sat in the huge Jacuzzi near our room and I would nearly die of contentment and joy. It is so good to isolate the kids from all other friends and cousins sometimes, that way they become friends to each other and make memories together. And boy did they. Especially our older three who I dare say love each other more and more all the time.

And the younger two also...
Cali was a seagull the whole trip

Ezra Taft Benson said this and I love it...

Build family togetherness. Call your families together.  Establish family reunions where fellowship and family heritage can be felt and learned. Foster wonderful family traditions which will bind you together eternally. In doing so, we can create a bit of heaven right here on earth within individual families. After all, eternity will be but an extension of righteous family life. 

We are back to school and everything else now and we are feeling it. Already life has pushed us around and my heart has been aching with the hard stuff. The schedule is in full-steam-ahead mode and challenges seem to show up at every turn, but we have brownish suntanned shoulders, a new jar full of shells and good memories to keep us going. Life is so good and I feel so happy to be a mother and wife. And I still want to kiss whoever gave us a glorious two week break off of school. MMWAA!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Repairer of the Breach

I was hurt last week. Not physically but my heart was hurt by the actions of someone I admired and looked up to. I spent all of last week fighting my feelings of resentment and bitterness towards this man. My faith in words like, for if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses and But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you...have been put to the test like never before. Do I really believe these teaching from the Savior or am I just saying I do because I have never truly been tested on them? Principals like these are so easy to live until they're NOT. After days of what I really wanted to say to this person played like a broken record over and over in my heart and mind, I was exhausted. Sad. Frustrated. Its so hard to let go of hurt when it really did hurt your life in real ways. My heart was so hard over it that I was even having a hard time opening up my scriptures. Aren't these the same things this person believes and yet he still chose a different way? 
Finally after 6 days of work and prayer I started to feel a small break in the pain of my own resentment. This morning I opened my scriptures and read words like..
to undo the heavy burdens
then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger.
thy darkness shall be as the noonday
And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
Beautiful written words can heal my heart like rain on the dry crackled dessert. I love the scriptures. I love them so much. I know I have barely scratched the surface of what they have to offer but even now they teach me and guide me . All of those sweet promises come with conditions and instructions (like take away the putting forth of the finger) but none of it is impossible, I can do the things that preceded those blessings that I so desperately need. And thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach...
I think I'd like that title. I'd like my heavy burdens to be undone, I'd like to call and hear the Lord say, "Here am I", and when I pick up my scriptures and lose myself in its pages I do. I really do.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Prophet of God

I have never met Thomas S. Monson. But oh how I love him. My heart sank watching his stamina start to fail as he spoke in conference. I wonder how many thousands of times he has stood at a pulpit to teach, comfort or lead? I have watched all of President Monson's conference addresses and he has always been strong and powerful and it breaks my heart to see him wear down. He has used up his whole life doing good, being kind and lifting and helping others along the way.

One of my favorite stories about President Monson is this one from Elder Holland,

I pay a personal tribute to President Thomas Spencer Monson. I have been blessed by an association with this man for 47 years now, and the image of him I will cherish until I die is of him flying home from then–economically devastated East Germany in his house slippers because he had given away not only his second suit and his extra shirts but the very shoes from off his feet. “How beautiful upon the mountains [and shuffling through an airline terminal] are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace.” More than any man I know, President Monson has “done all he could” for the widow and the fatherless, the poor and the oppressed.

He is gentle and powerful all at the same time. He is amazing. With out him the would not have, 

Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. 

The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it, the present is here, live it.

One of Gods greatest gift to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final. 

As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year but as a companion always. 

A man never stands taller than when He is on His knees.

And so many more, much more bits of truth and wisdom. I wish I could have stood behind him on conference Sunday to hold him steady. I wish I could tell him how much I love and sustain him. I wish I could tell him that his picture is framed in our living room and that when I am tiding up or snuggling a kid on the couch, or gathering everyone in for family night that I look at his picture and feel like here is right here encouraging me along. I will most likely never personally meet President Monson, but I don't need to because I already know that he is God Prophet on the earth and I love him heart and soul.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Night Swim

For FHE on Monday we had a family swim and ate warm-fresh from the oven-chocolate chip cookies. Isn't FHE the best! I mean who in the world wouldn't love to have one night exclusively set aside to be together and eat a treat? 

So I am a huge baby about being cold. I am a desert rat through and through and my thin Arizona-born blood cant handle any level of cold. I decided that for me to get in I was going to have to get warmed up by playing the classic King of the Deck. Truthfully, I am pretty sure all three of my big kids could throw me in the pool at will but they went easy and somehow I ended up getting all three in. I am not sure what warmed me up more, all the running and pushing or all the laughing. 

There was races and breath holding contests and sliding and Branson and I played our game of him wrapping himself around the boogie board like a monkey and me doing whatever it takes to get him off. He is so ticklish that it doesn't take much. Scott loves to hug and kiss me in front of our kids purely for the reaction and the pool was a perfect chance for him to bug them with it. DAAAAAD! STOP! It gets them every time. Cali and Ella played pirates and mermaids and they got plenty of boat rides on the boogie board from the big kids. 

At the end of the night Branson was standing at the edge of the pool with me, I helped him wrap up in a big towel and then he said,

"Mom, do you know what would be the worst thing in the whole world?" and then he answered his own question, "to not have any brothers and sisters."

Aww Sweet Heaven, thanks again for stopping by.