Thursday, December 22, 2016

Shameless Promotion for Feed My Starving Children

It isn't often that I try to promote anything. I'm not a salesperson. I know because I've tried.
But I just have to say I have a new favorite organization: Feed My Starving Children.

This businessman, Richard Proudfit, saw a need, he came home and worked out a plan to send food to needy areas and did that, only to find that the people were so malnourished they couldn't digest the food. He came up with a new plan and hired people to come up with something these people could eat. They came up with a rice, soybean, vitamin, dried vegetable mixture that is packaged all by VOLUNTEERS and it is shipped all over the world to those who have requested it and have ability to get it to those who need it.

90%, yes NINETY PERCENT of the funds go to feeding people!! That is almost unheard of!

One of the main reasons I don't donate to organizations is because I know they waste so much money! They are often top heavy and that is not the case here.

Where does the food come from? Donations. They buy from what was donated. Volunteers pack it.
So simple.

Packing sessions are a fun competition. People stand around tables putting in their ingredients, sealing and then packing bags in boxes. Anyone age 5 and up can help. They even have jobs for those who can't stand but can sit and help. They play music and everyone is dancing and packing and knowing that for just a short while they are doing something that will really make a difference.

Oh and get this, the rice comes in these huge bags. When they are done with a bag of rice, they include the bag in the shipping container and those bags are also used by the people, often to fortify their dwellings with waterproof roofing.


After a session, anyone who wants can come surround the pallet of food and join in prayer that it will make it safely where it needs to go and so far 99% of it has!!!

I know, this is me on exclamation overload, but I just love this!

Finally, they have a gift shop where you can purchase things that have been made by people in these areas. They have cool items. And those sales ensure that more food goes back to these people. They show pictures of some of the artisans. You have no idea how beautiful a 50 gallon drum can be until you see what they make out of what they have!

These items above were made from 50 gallon oil drums they cleaned flattened and turned into these awesome items!

One thing I learned while I was there is that in one area the people take clay, mix it with water, salt and oil and bake it to make "cookies" for eating purposes. They have NO nutritional value. They are simply something to help tummies feel full. It is heart wrenching to think of anyone eating these things because there is nothing else. Now, FMSC gets food to these areas and these kids eat real food. Now they make mugs out of the clay and they get shipped here to sell at the FMSC locations. Then those funds help pay for more food.

It is win win! You go help feed people, you donate your time to a worthy cause, you leave knowing you've made a difference, you go home and enjoy your hot chocolate in a mug made by someone on the other side of the world who is no longer starving because of you!


That is my shameless plug.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Friends of Faith

Tonight our family was reading the story of the four men who carried their sick friend to be healed of Jesus. They carried this sick man on his bed between them to the house, but it was so crowded they had no way to get him through the doorway to the Savior. 

Undaunted, they took an unconventional approach and headed to the roof. They got their friend up on the roof, removed some roof tiles and lowered him into the house. This account is recorded in Luke 5:17-20 and Mark 2:1-5.
We talked a bit about why this account was recorded in the scriptures. What is the significance? Suddenly it dawned on me, maybe the significance is the sick man's friends. They all obviously had a great love for this man, they wanted him to be healed. They had faith in the power of the Savior to do just that. They took their friend all the way. All the way! They carried him. They then somehow got him up on the roof! How much effort did that take?

Did the friend actually believe? We don't know. It says, "When Jesus saw their faith..." He then forgave the man's sins and he was healed.

Have there been times in your life where you don't know how you made it through? Then you look back and realize that you had the strength of good, wonderful, believing friends who carried you to the Savior's feet, because you couldn't get there yourself. 

I have those friends.

A dear friend in college cared enough about me, to let me know that the path I was on was wrong. I knew it, but didn't want to admit it. She called me out on it. It sent me to the feet of my Savior.

I have friends who loved and supported me when my husband was very ill and I couldn't always handle the day to day tasks and bills completely on my own. Their support and faith took me often to the feet of my Savior, in complete thanks.

I have friends who I know spend time on their knees at the feet of the Savior in my behalf when I am struggling.

We cannot underestimate the power of the faith of friends. It is there to sustain us, carry us, put us on the right path. The path that puts us at His feet.

We also cannot underestimate the power in being that kind of friend. We are to be the Lord's hands and feet. We are to reach out to those whose hands are hanging down. We are to get ourselves over to those who need us. We are to use the healing words He directs us to speak.

Why did Jesus set that example? Because He wanted us to follow it to the best of our human ability. And when we do, He makes our efforts perfect. Sometimes it doesn't feel that way or look that way with our finite minds. But we cannot see His infinite plan and how all the pieces fit together.

So my friends, thank you! This week, I am going to try harder to be that friend of faith, and I hope you will too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hiking and Celebrations

I took my two youngest hiking this morning because my hubby was working and my older two boys were camping.

I knew it would be quite a hike for them especially my 4 year old. We had tried the hill before, but didn't make it even half way before he tuckered out, then he fell and got scraped up and it was all over, he wanted to go home.

My six year old is always gung ho and was carrying on a full conversation while hiking up the hill. So we walked, he talked, we looked for animals and stopped for drinks. Eventually we made it to the top where they then played a full on game of tag while I sat down and looked at the view. I could see mountains that are over 100 miles away. I could see my van waaaayyy down at the bottom looking pretty small. I could see my kids playing, aggravating the ants, looking for lizards, watching a lone butterfly and seeing some birds soar.

On the way down, the boys were practically running down the hill.

As I watched them, I kept thinking, "Wait! Slow down. Don't you want to savor the easy part?"

They didn't need to savor it as much as I did, because for them the hike was easy.

It was a little harder for me. I wanted to sit and enjoy it because it had been kind of a struggle but I had made it.

Isn't it interesting how we have challenges and struggles and sometimes they are so hard we can barely take the next step or another breath? We just aren't sure we will make it.

But then we breathe, we step, and in time we find that we made it.

I have watched recently as people have celebrated milestones, a marriage, an anniversary, a birthday, and it has largely been about inviting friends to celebrate with them. To enjoy the story behind getting there. 

Making it to the wedding day after years of trying to find someone. 

An anniversary that came in spite of some years where they weren't sure they wanted to stay together, but they did and then truly had reason to celebrate. 

A birthday milestone after having had cancer and then realizing that they indeed not only made it, but made it five more years.

We celebrate the "making it". 

There really is no celebration in easy peasy. 

When was the last time you celebrated folding socks? Now it might be different if you were folding socks after having lost your hands, or have bad arthritis. 

The true celebration comes from having the struggle. And somehow in the struggle we do get stronger. The next hill we face is a little easier to climb at the beginning, the part we have gained muscle from in our last hill. 

I sometimes find myself whining about how hard something is, when the reality is, I'm just headed uphill and there will be a great view when I've struggled to the top. I will have cause for joy. 

And if I'm smart, I will take a moment to celebrate the struggle that got me to where I could see all the beauty that I missed while I was climbing.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher,

I just wanted you to know that my child didn't do his homework tonight.

He came home from school, had a snack, and played a bit with his brothers. Then we looked outside and noticed the wind had picked up and the trees were swaying and we saw rain clouds coming. And we watched them. We felt the air finally cool down, after a really long hot summer.

Then the rain hit, hard.

We let the drops crash down on our heads as we walked down the street to see if the neighbor kids wanted to play in the rain too. We haven't seen them in months. Haven't really been able to play since school got started.

So they played in the soaking, splattering, ear filling rain.

They rode scooters in it. They played ball in it. Then the rain slowed and stopped far too soon.

So they floated bits of seed pods and leaves down the gutter.

They splashed in the puddles with their hands and then jumped in with both feet.

They laughed and giggled and raced.

One of them jumped on the trampoline in the pouring rain.

They used their little muscles that have been sitting most of the day as they ran, jumped, scooted and splashed.

They used their ears enjoying the sounds of wind and raindrops and laughter.

They used their brains as they floated bits down the gutter and determined who would win.

Not once did they fight.

Not once did I have to worry about screen time, because no one thought of the screens.

There were a few owwies that needed bandaids and tears wiped away from slipping.

They came inside and changed and went back out and played until dark. Something my kids haven't done since last spring when it was cooler. And my husband and I sat and listened to the music of them laughing and giggling and playing. A sound we don't hear often enough now.

I want you to know, I realize the abundance of homework is not your fault. I realize that our society and "the experts" have decided that "teaching" our kids things their brains aren't ready for but look really good and fancy is super important. I realize what is expected of you each and every day is ludicrous.

But I wanted you to know that tonight my kids got a real education. They did the most important homework they could possibly do.

Tonight, they were kids.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Sorry dear friends. I went AWOW. That stands for Absent With Out Writing.

It has been a very weird time for me, and honestly, not sure it is over.

Several months ago I was feeling agitated every time I sat down to write. I look back at several of the drafts and I think I see why. I was getting so worked up about what I see going on in the world, in politics, in life, that I just could no longer really hear The Voice I needed to hear. I couldn't really hear the Spirit talking to me.

And I'm not sure that I can yet. Not to say that I haven't heard the Spirit in months, more that I need to better be able to hear it and then act on what I hear. So I've taken a break.

Here's what I've learned so far:

I need to be quiet if I want to hear.
I've been so busy hearing all the craziness in the world and voicing my opinion that I'm not really listening to His truth. I have needed to be quiet and swallow my words, because really they have all been my words lately, which is why looking back I see lots of drafts and not a lot of posts.

I need to act on what I hear.
This can be a hard one for me. Sometimes I just get stubborn and say, "But I don't want to do/say/write that."
Have you ever noticed that at times what God is telling you to do goes against your natural grain? I am not by nature a quiet person. I talk loud and laugh loud. So for Him to tell me to be quiet for a while- very tough!

I've noticed more just how many times a day the Lord is asking me to help His children by making that phone call or addressing a need or saying a prayer, and yet, I still continue on with my own plans at times.

It is humbling to think of what I could be accomplishing and frustrating to see how easily selfish I can be at times.

So I may not be fully back yet, but I am also not gone.

I am simply trying to be a better listener.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Womanhood Revisited

Last year I got totally pumped to start a "Womanhood Movement". One that honors TRUE womanhood. The essence that is divinely part of having xx chromosomes.

In some measure that has been reignited due to several factors. The first being Mother's Day. That particular holiday has driven me nuts for some time. During years struggling with infertility it brought me to tears. When children did arrive and got old enough to talk back I began to see my ineptitude clearly (in my eyes) as a mother, which then made it so disheartening to look through the Mother's day cards for my own mom, read all these mushy things about how amazing I was supposed to be and fully feeling that I was not.

But now I have come to terms with mushy cards and what I see now is how many women truly honor their womanhood, but many feel left out because they haven't given birth.

Giving birth isn't what makes us women. It is one aspect of being a woman.

Being a woman is far more than giving birth. It is how we care for others, it is how we multi task, it is how we uphold and strengthen others, how we bring life, joy and color to the world. It is in how we mend hearts, cheerlead those who are losing, see a need to meet and meet it. It is how we care for children even when they aren't ours.

I recently heard Russell M. Nelson, a renowned heart surgeon, talk about how after losing 2 little sisters with the same heart defect he was devastated by their loss and wanted to quit. His wife let him cry his heart out then sent him back to work.  He was the means of many people being healed, largely because his wife held his heart for a while and then sent him back out to do his life's work. She had vision, she knew what he could become. She knew he was hurting and needed to grieve. She also knew she needed to put him "back on the horse" so to speak.

Years ago I worked for a very small company, there were 4 employees. A husband, wife and 2 other employees. The husband was an idea man. He was very creative. He was smart. He was also disorganized, gave up easily, changed direction frequently. But his wife was a rock. She kept him on an even keel. She knew when to let him run with an idea and when to reign him in. That company was very successful. It was largely because of the wife and her abilities to help her husband succeed.

I know so many women who are the mainstay for the fields they work in because of their innate womanly capabilities that have nothing to do with whether they are married, single, have children or not. Just for instance, look at the teaching field which is dominated by amazing women! Or the nursing field. Teaching, caring for, helping others to become who they are meant to be, or helping them die with a caring friend by their side. These are a few hallmarks of those professions which are hugely populated by women.

We need to keep celebrating true womanhood! We need to honor it as women, by being honorable women. The girls who are watching us need to know that we value how we are made, what we do because we are women. They need to see that there is a beautiful difference between the sexes and that those differences don't compete with each other, they complete each other.

I am going to refer you to last year's posts in hopes that you will take the Womanhood Challenge.
Please refer to this post:;postID=560363364959238364;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=66;src=postname

So my dear friends, as you contemplate your week ahead, I want you to start thinking ahead. Who can you recognize for being an amazing woman? Who is it that honors being a woman? Who is it that delights in being a daughter of God? Who is it that holds the pieces together when it looks like they are about to fall apart? Who do you know that plugs along by themselves, but who would be so very much missed because she just does so much for others? Who has changed your world by being your friend or confidant? Let's take some time this week to ponder on it, perhaps write some notes and get ready to honor Womanhood next week.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

4 Boys, 1 Mom and a Grocery Store

Sounds like the title of a T.V. show doesn't it?

It kind of plays out like one as well, including the laugh track that comes from your kids and perhaps the people sitting at the in-store coffee shop who have nothing better to do than sip coffee and people watch at 3:30 in the afternoon when you should really already be in the process of dinner, not heading to the store with post-school, four starving males under the age of 16.

It is an activity I do only in emergencies because shopping with kids, in general, borders on crazy anyway, but shopping with 4 boys after school is akin to setting fire to your wallet and losing your mind simultaneously, in public.

So should you ever, for whatever reason: demomtia, momheimer's, Mother Hubbard disease, whatever it may be, have to go to the store with your children, go prepared.

Yep, have your list in hand. Not the grocery list, that's secondary. The one with emergency numbers. The number for the friend you can call and have her come rescue you by taking the child who began crying the minute you pulled into the parking lot because he has to go to the store "eyry day." That's a mythical person by the way, they only exist in parenting books.

The number for your spouse so you can let them know that even though you got to the store at 3:30 and it is now almost 5 you still haven't gotten to the dairy section yet, please pick up a pizza on your way home.

You have carefully made your assignments and attack plan before you entered the store. The oldest was assigned to push the cart down the middle of the aisle so the youngest can't reach anything on either side. The second is to quickly put back anything that the 3rd is grabbing off of shelves and placing in the cart while you are scanning shelves and list and mentally thinking about your pantry.

You smile for the kindly older people who say nice things about how cute your kids are, while you are wondering how on earth they suddenly have bright red mouths. You endure the comments of those who clearly have an agenda, "Are all of these children yours? Are you trying to repopulate the earth yourself? Do you think that is environmentally responsible?" And as you hear a scream from another aisle you say a silent prayer for that parent and quickly count heads making sure none of yours have escaped and are the cause of the distress being heard.

You are doing all of this in "go mode" which means you are talking quickly, reacting quickly and thinking faster than is humanly possible.

You have quieted a child asking in his outside voice, "Why does that lady have blue hair?" As well as excusing him to the man who he told, in the same outside voice,  that he wears race car underwear and asks, "What kind of underwear do youse wear?"

Embarrassment is no longer part of your daily experience. You have been humbled to the dust by your children's comments and questions already. You now just hope that you actually have words of wisdom and redirection that make sense as you are trying to decide if you want to buy boxed pancake mix or make it yourself.

You have now made sure there is at least one thing in the cart that each family member can/will eat under the duress of starvation. The adrenaline rush of the expedition is wearing off and you head for the checkout. This is when it takes all of your reserves and stamina because the dreaded checkout lane is full of reachable sugar laden goodies you don't want your kids to have, touch or see, as well as magazine covers you don't want scarring the eyes of your adolescent teen who is trying to stay virtuous in spite of, well, Junior High.

Then, the reward hits. Your eyes meet. The waters have parted and you get her/him. The cashier who removes each and every unwanted pack of gum, ring pop, trinket, toy and gift card, except that one. The dark chocolate Dove bar you surreptitiously put on the conveyor belt and she hands you tucked nicely into the folded receipt whose final total declares that your children will have to earn their way through college because your 401k will be paying to fill their little bellies.

You have survived with your chocolate now safely in your purse, groceries headed to the car, all little heads accounted for when your realize with your heart sinking to the very bottom of your feet.

You forgot the milk.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Good Fight

Nope, this post isn't about my boys.

I hope though, that it will be a call to arms so to speak.

It is time to put down the poisons of judgement, the mirage of perfection, and the emptiness of worldly cares.

It is time for us to live what we believe.

I believe in Jesus Christ.

I believe that it is only by Him and through Him that any of us can ever return to the Father.

It is not for me to judge and decide who will or won't get into heaven.

We can try to live lives that look like perfection, but that is not mentioned anywhere in scripture. I have never read a passage that says, "If you have a picture perfect home, are married, have 12 beautiful children who are all dressed in matching outfits, play every instrument, sport and participate in every activity, send out amazing Christmas cards faithfully with a well written letter, and have a well manicured lawn, you are going straight to heaven."

Nope. Never have I read that.

But I have read, "Judge not that ye be not judged." Matthew 7:1-3
" good to him that persecute you and despitefully use you," Matthew 5:44
"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."John 6:38

It is time for me to fully engage myself to His work. To reaching out to the poor and needy, even if that means that I can't get that dent in my car fixed.

It means looking at myself and evaluating where I am lacking.
Do I care for others as much as myself,  or do I care more about what they think of me?

Am I trying to look like everything in my life is perfect, or am I showing the world what God can do with a very imperfect person?

Do I have the courage to speak up and speak out when God needs me to?

Do I truly love, or am I honest enough to say, "Ok Lord, I have trouble loving this person, please help me love them."

Am I so busy finding the fault in others, that I can't see what I need to change?

Do I reach out only to those who are my friends and neighbors, or do I help those who can do me no good?

Do I know what Christ taught and what He promised, as well as I know what the characters on my favorite shows say?

My friends, fellow Christians, those who are coming to know Christ, and anyone who reads this that I will never meet in this life, it is time for us to put ourselves aside and come unto Him. It is time for us to unite, no matter what our religions might be, and stand on the merits of Christ. It is time to take His name upon us, step out in faith and stand together to show this world what He really is all about.

And that is to bring to pass that immortality and eternal life of man. To give us a chance to return to our Heavenly home. To know the peace and power of forgiveness and redemption, even when we have done NOTHING to deserve it!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Pain and Butterflies

I love butterflies! There is something so dainty and beautiful about a butterfly flitting through the yard. I always pause, just for a moment to appreciate them.

I also love caterpillars! They come in so many different colors and patterns. Some are furry, some aren't, some have stripes, others are plain. But the amazing thing about them is to think of the change they will go through to become these dainty beautiful creatures silently drifting through your flowers.

I'm sure we have all thought about the change they go through to become those beautiful creatures.

But today I was thinking about how it is kind of an unattractive process. Have you ever seen a chrysalis? Not very pretty. Not colorful. If you didn't know what it was, or what was happening inside you would completely overlook it.

Yet, it is such an essential part of what God created that caterpillar to do. To change. To become something new. To struggle out of what is holding it, into its new and different form. Somehow, instinctively, that caterpillar knows that it has to pull in, take some time to build it a place to change and then the change begins.

We were all created to do things. What you and I were created to do, may be very different. But to completely fulfil what God's purpose for us is, requires change. It requires us to let go of who we think we are to become what He created us to be. He did not create us to be selfish, unkind and prideful. He created us to be the opposite, selfless, kind and humble.

A caterpillar is an interesting creature. It eats plants and poops. In that part of its lifecycle it does do something, but not a lot. However, when it becomes a butterfly it can pollinate plants and flowers. It can lay eggs to create more caterpillars. It cannot reach the full measure of its potential in the caterpillar state. It must change.

Change is often ugly, uncomfortable and unattractive to those who don't understand what we are going through. It's often not until the metamorphosis is complete that others can appreciate what we have gone through.

But we need to not fear the ugly. That is the only way a caterpillar can change into the butterfly it was created to be. We need to recognize that the work is hard and sometimes silent, sometimes seems boring, can take longer than we think.

And in all that, we need to remember that the process is different for each of us. We may look at someone else and think, Hhmmmm, not so attractive." But that might be the chrysalis part of the change that person is going through.

I am currently raising a teenager. If nothing else, it qualifies me to recognize how a metamorphosis can be frustrating, ugly, difficult, uncomfortable, and seemingly unending.
Can you think back to a time as a child when you had growing pains? I remember waking up at nights with my legs aching. The pain was unexpected and overwhelming. It was also seemingly "undeserved." The pain wasn't from an injury, or as the result of too much running, hours of roller skating or anything else. It was simply part of the process of changing, growing. Yet that pain was essential to my literal growth.

Some of my most frustrating and ugly spots have been when I realized that I wasn't being who God wanted me to be and that it was time for change and I didn't necessarily know how, or even want to change.

But when I let go, and let Him do His work, He makes me more of the beautiful creation He intended. My change will take a lifetime. There will be times that I feel like the gorgeous butterfly, but more often than not, I will probably feel like the ugly chrysalis. And that's okay, as long as I don't lose sight of the process and forget the outcome! He created me to be more than just a caterpillar. He created me to be a useful and beautiful butterfly.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

What Size Casket Will You Have?

In Sunday School, this sweet older gentleman that I just love, related the following story.

A religious man was invited to the home of a very wealthy acquaintance. He got there and looked around at all the amazing and beautiful things. As they wandered through the house looking at all this man had acquired he finally asked, "To what do you attribute all that you have?" At which the wealthy man said, "Me. I have done all of this. I have worked hard for everything you see here."

Then this sweet man finished this story with this comment, "You know, that rich man will eventually wind up in the same place we pretty much all do. The dimensions are about 6 feet long by 2 feet wide."

Now there are of course two striking parallels for this story.

The first being, that the wealthy man attributed everything he had to himself. I'm not saying he didn't work hard, or have a lot of intelligence. But the ability to work hard, having intelligence, being a good manager of money, etc. are all gifts from God. Sometimes not having those gifts is also a great mercy from God.

I'll be honest, if I had a great body, I would be awfully tempted to flaunt it. If I had a lot of money, I would find lots of frivolous things to waste it on. So God has graciously saved me from having those issues!

The second notion in this story is that we will all eventually be put in the same place, a nearly 7 foot by 2 1/2 foot box, or perhaps a pretty urn. No matter what we have earned, or attained to in this life!

The interesting thing is, you can shove an awful lot of love in a heart, a ton of knowledge in a brain, and a boatload of soul in a person and it never changes their size or shape!

So when we leave this life and eventually report back to our Maker, He will want to take a tour of us and see all that we did with what He gave us.

Did we fill the vastness of our mind with His word? Did we put in good books, and words of wisdom? Did we learn all that we could learn and did we take care of the brain we were given?

How about our hearts? Did we fill them up with love for others, or only ourselves? Did we have them stretched by loving our children or spouse or friends, even when they weren't very loveable? Did we turn away from or reach out to those who were different, unkempt, challenging, or weird? Did we help even when we weren't sure we had the time to give or the means? Was our heart filled with love for others?

Did we fill our souls with goodness and light? Did we accept the whisperings of the Spirit when we needed to change and try to make those changes? Were we humble enough to recognize the gifts we were given and do something with them?  Were we filled with the love of God and let that spill out to others?

So what size coffin will you have? Probably about the same size as most everyone else. But it doesn't really matter, because what's in it isn't really what's in it.

Let's all go out and fill up our hearts, minds and spirits and make them beautiful palaces to visit and share with others, because that is what we will take with us.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Backpack

Today in church was so enlightening to me and I just have to share what I learned from the comments of a couple of amazing women who were clearly directed by the Spirit.

Amber was teaching about grace and her own struggles with some things in her life. She mentioned how after years of praying and fasting and struggling with a particular issue she decided it was time to take the backpack of all these struggles off and place it at the feet of the Savior and walk away.

Now, I have to admit, I have often heard of people taking their burdens and casting them at the feet of the Savior and I have struggled with my own inability to do that.

But now I think I understand a little bit more about why.

Noelle then said, "How often do we put that backpack there and then go back to it, maybe asking the Lord, ''Have you got it? I can take it back."
Or maybe I think, "You know, I think I left something in there I'm not really done with, let me take a peek."
How often have I done exactly that! I have left the back pack and then gone back to take little bits and pieces out, or thought maybe I shouldn't have handed it all over to the Lord.

Maybe it is time for me to hand over the back pack, all of it, and walk away.

And not look back.

And not ask for a glimpse.

And not think that I can carry it better than He can.

I already have to continue on with the consequences of my choices.

But I don't have to feel the pain anymore. I don't have to continue to carry the burden of regret, frustration, anger, resentment or fear. He has already paid the price for all of that.

I just need to go forward trusting in His grace, asking for His help, and seeing and feeling the many ways He shows me His love.

It may not look, or feel the way I want it to. I may have to hold on to things I can't see, or touch, but only hope for, until the day I am at His feet.

But maybe, just maybe, by putting down that backpack and letting Him take it, I will be better able to enjoy the journey, climb higher, reach out to help others on the path.

Somehow, I don't think that when we get to the other side we are going to want to be hauling the baggage we are trying to haul around here. Especially when we can leave it behind.

I can only hope to help someone else learn where to put their load, when I know where it goes myself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New Book for Parents

I want to share with you a new book that a member of a Christian writer's group I am part of has helped to write! I haven't read the whole thing, yet. What I have read is making me stop and contemplate and pray.
I am in no way a perfect mom, or even close to it! But like most moms, I have the best intentions. So when I mess up, I feel terrible! I love what I am reading in this book about focusing on the things that drive me crazy and evaluating how Heavenly Father would want me to deal with it. I love the images they use to make me think about how using scripture to raise my children needs to be not from a punishment mentality but from a guidance mentality.

"Do you use Scripture when you’re frustrated and angry? God’s Word was never intended to be a hammer in the hand of an angry mom, but a surgeon’s scalpel used in tandem with the Holy Spirit’s guidance."  from Triggers page 33 by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake .

I am excited to see how this book redirects my efforts in parenting more to the scriptures and the Spirit as I try to make the changes I feel I need to make.
I hope it will help you too!

If you decide to read it and want to share some thoughts or experiences on how it has helped or guided you, I would love for you to share!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Morning Chaos (The Dream)

After a very harried morning I was trying to entertain my boys that night with a bedtime story of this mom and how she envisions it to be.

Her eyes open at 5:30 am on the dot and she feels rested and energized for the day. After spending time on her knees, she reads her scriptures and jots down several passages that have enlightened her mind.

She looks at the clock, realizing it is time to make the muffins. The peanut butter, whole wheat muffins with chocolate chips and peanut butter frosting. While she is making these muffins she is singing in her amazingly awesome operatic voice, lovely good morning songs to her children who waken to the smell of the muffins, the sun shining, and their mother singing.

Then with loving hugs to all she warms their cold clothes in the dryer and helps the younger 2 get dressed.  While also smoothing hair, locating back packs, shoes, and permission slips. She calmly reminds each kid where they need to be and when, while she makes lunches.

She goes to the closet and finds her jeans, cute shirt and hoodie and decides that not only is makeup not necessary, but neither is brushing her hair.

As she gets the one child who is not wanting to go to school today, presumably because he doesn't want to leave his beautiful, charming, very entertaining, and encyclopedic mother because he would prefer to be at home under her tutelage, she opens the door to find that all the neighbors suspected his reluctance this morning and are out with balloons and best wishes signs for him as they cheer him into the car and confetti inexplicably falls from the sky.

On the drive to school she turns on the radio to uplifting music that has a great beat and as they are bopping to the music at a red light, other kids in other, not so fun vans, are looking jealously at the amazing moves their mom is making from the driver seat while also singing, on key, to the song. As they arrive at school, throngs of other kids come running and beg to be added to their carpool.

At lunch each child opens their healthy and tasty lunch, to the much drooling of their mates who beg them to ask their mom to call and share recipes.

After school, the same mother picks up carpool to and begins a joke telling fest in which she remembers every punchline. Everyone arrives home ready for a snack, which of course is homemade chocolate chip cookies served on doilies on glass plates with ice cold milk.

The smell of dinner is wafting from the crockpot and after homework is done, everyone plays happily while dinner finishes cooking.

Everyone cheerfully comes in to help set the table for dinner and after a prayer on the food, every child says, "Oh yum, I love everything you cook Mom." Mom of course smiles knowingly as she thinks about how nutrient packed this meal is and they don't even know it! Then there is deep discussion about world events, including solutions to said events.

As the family is putting the dinner dishes away, the floor is also getting swept and of course everyone is singing. After clean up is family game time. The t.v. is covered with dust because no one ever watches it anymore. No one even wants to watch it, because it is so boring.

Then at bedtime, everyone puts on their cozy jammies, comes in for scriptures and prayers with smiles and loving actions to all. They get immediately into bed and ask for a story before sleep.

This is the story they get, with much laughter from all as they realize that mom has indeed lost her mind and is sleep telling this story from the floor she will find herself on at about midnight when she wakes up, freezing cold.

This same mom kisses each sleeping kid, tucks them in and thinks back over the day, that didn't go anything like the story, but fully plans on trying again tomorrow.

Got any good jokes?

Sunday, January 31, 2016


Sometimes it seems as though Christians aren't "allowed" to have problems, difficulties, challenges or trials.
It seems that for many, the admission that we do means we aren't "Christian" enough. We must not be faithful enough, or we don't pray enough, or maybe we simply just aren't good enough.

Which is all silly.

Being a follower of Christ is a process. A lifetime one. We won't get there over night.

The Savior understood this and, I think, tried to point it out as He chose His disciples.

As He was walking by the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 4:19 it says "...Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

He did NOT say, follow me, you are fishers of men. He alluded to the fact that becoming a disciple, a follower, a believer, is something that He will help us to become.

That means that much of our lives will be in learning to serve others, as He taught His disciples. In reaching out to the needy, and brokenhearted as He taught them. In teaching (for us, through the Spirit) as He did with them. It will be in the little ways we heal others, as He showed His disciples.

And sometimes it will be in a long and painful and lonely journey, as His was. We cannot forget that He asked His disciples to watch with Him, Matt 26:4. They fell asleep. He suffered, carrying the weight of all of our transgressions, on His own. He watched as Peter, his dear friend, betrayed Him. He went to the cross surrounded by throngs of people calling for His execution. He died in the most humbling of circumstances, nearly naked, painfully nailed to a cross, in absolute innocence of any wrongdoing.

When we look at the journey of His disciples, the ones who walked, talked, ate, and journeyed with him, we can see that their journey was full of ups and downs. These are the very men He said he would make into "fishers of men".

I love Peter because he reminds me in many ways of me. The one to blurt out the questions everyone else is smart enough not to say out loud. But as the Savior teaches him, he gets it and embraces it as much as he can. Even at the end of His life, as the Savior is letting Peter know he will betray Him, Peter cannot fathom it. The depth of his sorrow in his moments of weakness I can comprehend. The absolute love Jesus has for Peter and His mercy for this friend is one I cannot fully comprehend, but believe in and trust in.

While on the Sea of Galilee a storm arose and His disciples were scared. Isn't that sometimes how we feel in the storms of our lives, scared? I have. And He then asks in Matthew 8:26 "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?' Yes, his disciples were scared. Yes, the Lord questions them. But He never said, Ok, enough! Get out of the boat. You just don't get it. I'm done with you.


Because He knew what He was making! He was making disciples. Believers. Healers. Teachers.

And they had to learn. Step by step. Sometimes painful steps.

They also had the good times, the times they healed. When they taught. They had years at His feet to learn. The chance to witness miracle after miracle in the lives of those who came to Jesus in faith, and those who came asking for the faith as well. There was the man in Mark 9:24 who brought his child to be healed, but found he lacked the faith and asked for it.

His disciples had to learn why they could not cast out devils. In Mark 9:29 He teaches them  that "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."

If the Savior had to teach all these things to the very men who were His closest friends, the ones who saw Him heal, cast out devils, feed the hungry, guide the sinner, why do we expect that we will experience less? Why do we think our lives will look perfect and be easy?

If we truly want to be His disciples, we too will have to learn how in the struggles as well as in the good times.

I have a friend who has had seemingly nothing but struggles her entire life. And yet, she has been one of my greatest teachers as I have watched her time and again be Christlike.

The struggles and trials are real. Sometimes they hurt. Sometimes they seem to last forever. Sometimes it is lonely. These things don't mean we aren't faithful enough, believing enough or good enough. In fact, it may mean that He has chosen us to do the good work. He knows what He can make of us.

And as we hold on to our faith, even when we are also asking for the faith we need, He will make all of those struggles worth it.

Then we will be the disciples He knows we can be.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Do Over

Why is it that the very trait that we see in someone else, that is driving us crazy, is often a trait that we have? Have you ever noticed that?

For example, one of my kids tends to not be very patient and it can drive me nuts!! Ya know what? I am not a very patient person!!!

I have another kid who often doesn't put things away. Lately I have noticed that the very things he is not putting away are the same items of my own that I am picking up at the end of the day.
And it can drive you bonkers!

Years ago, maybe 20,  this movie came out about a guy who relived the same day over and over and over again, it was called Groundhog Day. We went to see this movie with friends and it was one of those times that if we hadn't been with friends I would have walked out. The movie drove me absolutely nuts! I couldn't stand it!

It was kind of funny for a while, but then it became annoying and then downright boring, because it was the same thing over and over with only very small changes as the character chose to make them.

Now I really don't remember much of it, because I truly disliked it so much I didn't want to remember, or ever see it again.
What I do remember is the guy was pretty much a jerk. And as he got to relive the same day he could keep being a jerk, or he could do something different, be nice to someone, help someone, whatever and it didn't take him too long to figure out that no matter what he did one day that it would all be erased. No one but him would remember and he would start again the next day.

Eventually he did a lot of self improvement, and became a much nicer person as he learned what people really thought of him, as he saw the benefits of helping others.
At least that is what I remember of the movie.

I was thinking about that as I woke up this morning after having yelled at one of my kids the night before. A trait that I loathe, and one I am working on constantly.
This morning I was thinking of Anne of Green Gables (one of my all time favorite book series and I even love the movies) and there is a part where Anne is with Marilla and as they are talking about a mistake Anne had made, Marilla reminds her that tomorrow is a new day, fresh with no mistakes in it.

Then I started thinking about Groundhog Day and how the main character had a fresh chance each time he woke up to live that day differently. He could choose to live it better than he had before or not. And he sometimes choose badly.

Our lives are made up of days. We don't get to live a day over, but each day we wake up to a new, fresh one, with no mistakes. We get to choose what we are going to do with it. Sometimes we will choose many good things and sometimes we will just plain blow it.

Our Heavenly Father also lets us start new. I think He is waiting for us to wake up, see His amazing new day and decide what good we are going to do. When I remind myself to think of it that way, I am much more likely to not only be thankful for the new day, but more determined to try and conquer the bad habits and find the good.

I am finding that when I start my morning thanking Him and spending time reading the scriptures and the messages He has for me, I hear His voice more. I need that voice. I desperately need that voice to guide me through my day and through my actions.

So the movie that drove me absolutely nuts, is actually a lot like my life. I can start each day new, fresh with no mistakes. God is on my side and wants me and you and all of us to succeed in becoming a new and different person through what we learn each day. The changes may be very small and almost imperceptible to us, but they aren't to Him. And when we mess up, which we all inevitably do, He forgives us and loves us into a whole new day.