Category Archives: Church

Children Are Angels Who Sing Off Key

Once a year, all of the children from three to eleven years old in our church do a presentation during the main part of our Sunday meeting. All year long, the kids practice the songs they will sing. For the last month or so before the presentation, they practice reciting parts that they are each assigned.

Today was the big day. Noah and Wyatt had both been practicing multiple times a day over the past couple  of weeks. Wyatt was to say, “My family and I can serve others.” Noah’s was significantly harder: “The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children,” They both told me they thought they would be nervous saying their parts in front of all of the adults.

They both nailed it.

And me, being the proud mommy, sat in my seat grinning so big that my face hurt and holding back the tears. This mommy gig is pretty darn rewarding sometimes.

 

Today, I am thankful for:

  1. How seriously my little boys took preparing for their parts today.
  2. The amazing primary presidency and teachers that put forth so much effort in preparing the program today.
  3. The special spirit of little kids. A member of our bishopric commented that children are angels that sing off key. Perfect description (even though they weren’t really off key as a whole 🙂 ).
  4. The Heavenly intervention that somehow kept my three younger children relatively quiet and well-behaved while Sean was up front helping with the primary presentation. I was really worried that I would have to miss seeing most of it to keep the little ones out in the hall since I was sure they would be too energetic for me to wrangle on my own. But we made it. And I wasn’t even grumpy by the end.
  5. Reconnecting with an old friend. Recently, I had been thinking some about a couple we knew early in our marriage and wondering how she was. Today, she found me on Facebook. Just like that, after absolutely no contact for probably six years. How cool is that?
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Filed under Church, Gratitude, Kids, NaBloPoMo, Thirty Days of Thankfulness

Exhale.

Given how quiet it has been here over the past week or so, it would be easy to assume that I had fallen off of the face of the earth. Wishful thinking, I suppose, could conjure up thoughts of me going into labor and having the baby early (this is no longer an evil thought, since I’m far enough along for her to be just fine).

Nope.

I’ve been passing the time with such delightful pursuits as miserable illness overwhelming stress. Doesn’t that sound like so much fun?

You know how I’ve mentioned that my husband and two of my kids ended up with ear infections after catching a little cold? Well, I didn’t suffer the same fate as they did. Oh, no. That would be much to mundane. Instead, I spent a week hacking like an asthmatic chain smoker (something I’m still fighting with to some extent) while enduring an ear infection on one side of my head and a SINUS INFECTION of the other side. Are you familiar with the character Two-Face from Batman?

two face

It was kind of like that, only both sides were evil. Sleeping, obviously, was a joy.

In the middle of all of that, I drug my exhausted body to my weekly (WEEKLY! We’ve reached the weekly stage!) appointment with my midwives and found out that I was anemic. That, my friends, explains sooooo much of the past several weeks. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to find out that there was a medical reason for how I’ve felt, and not just that I was turning into an intolerably lazy slob.

As they say, though, time (and, apparently, iron supplementation) heals all things. Other than the persistent smoker’s cough, I’ve been pretty much back to normal for a couple of days now.

That means I was all better just in time to go into a mad-dash freak-out about the church commitments I had for this week.

About a month ago, I was asked to host (and be the sole speaker for) an activity about self-reliance and maintaining food storage in case of an emergency. I should probably point out the fact that I was not the first choice for this. That distinctions would go to my mother, who has done a lot of research on these topics over the past several months, has a year’s supply of food stored, keeps a large garden, planted a small orchard this year, and (for the love of pete!) is raising honey bees.

And me? Well, as I told the women who came to the activity last night, me teaching on this topic was a definite case of the hypocritical leading the blind. Except for the fact that a lot of them know what they are doing, so they don’t qualify as blind. But me, with my couple of months of famine rations and first little garden ever? Sooo not qualified. But the discussion was good and no one felt the need to repeatedly correct me, so I guess it went pretty well. Either that, or they all took pity on my obvious stupidity. It could go either way.

This morning, we had a sports/game activity for all of the Cub Scouts. What I had originally thought was supposed to be a multiple-game activity put together by all six leader had turned into just me responsible for the whole thing since everyone else was working/at school/out of town. And I was sick. And responsible for another activity. And had no clue what to do. And I was freaking out about it. Thankfully, at the last minute I found out that one of the other leaders wasn’t out of town after all and she had it under control. Talk about your white knight moment. I spent this morning watching the kids play wiffle ball.

Then, I came home and let out a huge sigh of relief.

All of my major events and stress-inducers before the baby is born are over with. Well, except for finishing writing (and, heaven forbid, MAILING) my thank you cards from the awesome baby shower my friends and family held for me a couple of weeks ago. I am so lame for not having that done yet. Seriously, you should see all of the cute outfits, blankets, and jewelry this little girl will be starting life in. I love it.

So now, I just focus on not going crazy while waiting out the last few weeks. I’ll just work on being ready  for the upheaval of a new baby. And take a few moments to breathe.

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Filed under Church, Daily Life, pregnancy

Relax???

You know, when we were going through all those years of infertility, a lot of people would say a lot of things to try and comfort me. Probably the one I heard the most was, “If you adopt, you’ll finally relax about having kids—then you’ll get pregnant!” I’m sure many people felt their comments were proven when we DID start having kids after adopting. (For the record, that is about one of the most painful things that a person who can’t have kids can hear—that it is somehow their fault because they are being too uptight about it. Adopting isn’t a cure for infertility. We’re talking about a child—not a fertility idol.)

Anywho…

I never could understand those comments. And now that I HAVE children? I’m completely flummoxed by them.

Before I had kids, we would go out on a regular basis. We had season’s tickets to the local theater’s Broadway series for several years running. And Saturdays? I was never out of bed before nine or ten.

Today…

I tried to sleep in. Once I did get up, I had eaten breakfast, taken a shower, cleaned up some, checked my email and read some blogs before I happened it glance at a clock. It was 9:30.

I haven’t stopped moving since.

One of the kids in Sean’s Primary class at church got baptized today. Sean was asked to give a talk on the Holy Ghost. OK, in my family, we have a baptism tradition. It started when I was baptized (24 years ago—gah!). The primary presidency gave every child a little white box when they were baptized. I still have mine, and my mother has made one for each of her grandchildren as they have been baptized. I offered to make one for Sean to use with his talk.

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I also put in a small scroll of paper explaining the symbolism of everything in the box:

Dear S~,

I would like you to have this little box to help you understand how important the gift of the Holy Ghost is in your life.

The white box signifies how pure and clean you are now hat you have just been baptized.

The little mouth in the box is to help you remember that the Holy Ghost will speak to you in a still, small voice.

The ear is to remind you that you can always choose the right if you will always listen to the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost is like a warm blanket. When you have chosen right, and have to stand alone, the Holy Ghost will strengthen and comfort you.

These books will help you to remember that the Holy Ghost is a teacher. As you study the scriptures and listen to your teachers, the Holy Ghost will help you to understand and know the truth.

The Holy Ghost is like a compass that shows the way for you and helps you to walk along safe and righteous paths.

May Heavenly Father bless you throughout your life.

While working on that, I was also making brownies for my mother to take to a Historical Society fundraiser this evening (she was up at my sister’s house for a party and so my dad could help build a swing set).

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In all fairness, she did treat us all to dinner at said fundraiser this evening.

Walking into that dinner was quite the experience. For starters, my mom was definitely one of the younger members of the group. And there is just nothing quite like walking into a room and being greeted by the sight of a 70-something woman standing behind basic DJ equipment, wearing a black shirt with heavy gold bling and singing Bad, Bad Leroy Brown. I could see the fear in Sean’s eyes.

It was almost (but not quite) as shocking as his grandfather’s wedding reception when we were nineteen. That experience included a little old lady doing a fantastic (and wholly unintentional) impersonation of a geriatric Mimi from The Drew Carey Show and dancing the Macarena.

mimi

I will probably never get that image out of my mind—that’s the kind of stuff that just permanently alters your brain chemistry.

The dinner, however, was nice. And by the time we left, the little-old-DJ had moved on to a more predictable selection of “Mares eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy…” We even won one of the raffle prizes. Of course, it was a cake. Just what I wanted on a day that I had already baked a pan of brownies and a huge birthday cake.

Which brings me to…

Tomorrow is Caleb’s birthday. It is also Sean’s father’s birthday (I should get some major extra daughter-in-law brownie points for that one—how many women give their father-in-law a GRANDCHILD for his birthday?). Sean’s grandfather decided that he should have a family get together tomorrow to celebrate. It technically starts at the exact moment that we get out of church. So…

I have spent the entire evening wrapping presents:

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making two bowls of fruit salad:

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and decorating a birthday cake:

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Oh, OK, fine—I didn’t actually write the words on the cake. I can barely write legibly on a piece of paper. Frosting is way out of my realm. My mom did the lettering for me. But Brobee? I take full credit, responsibility…I did that. No, I haven’t had a sudden change of heart. I still think that Yo Gabba Gabba is the kiddie television equivalent of an acid trip (no, I’ve never experienced one personally but, come on, I wasn’t THAT sheltered—I knew people). That doesn’t change the fact that my son sleeps with his stuffed Brobee every single night. And I’m a mom.

Which brings me back to my original point. From before 9:00 this morning until almost 11:00 this evening, I have not stopped moving. I’ve been doing things all day long. Heck, I’ve technically been multitasking the whole time, if you consider the fact that I did it all while continuing to MAKE A PERSON.

I’m exhausted.

And I can’t help but wonder…At what point is being a mother supposed to start helping me relax???

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Filed under Church, Daily Life, Kids, Parenting

The Mouths of Babes

I’ll warn you up front—if you aren’t familiar with the LDS church, this post may not make a lot of sense to you.

Several years ago, when we were still attending a small, inner-city Branch (tiny LDS congregation), Sean was the Young Men’s president and I was the Young Women’s president. It was a very small group of young people from challenging backgrounds.

We developed a special relationship with a 14-year-old boy who was the only member of the church in his family. Even after we moved to our current house and left that Branch, Chris would come over a lot of weekends to hang out, help Sean with yard work, and just be around.

As Chris got older, he would come over less frequently. He’s nineteen now. Even though we don’t see him often, he still calls Sean pretty regularly. Every so often, he will call on a Saturday and say he is going to come over. He almost never actually makes it.

Yesterday was one of those days.

Of course, my kids get excited when they think that Chris is coming over. I’m really not even sure why Sean even tells them that Chris might come over. He always reminds them, though, that there is a good chance he’ll flake.

So, when Chris hadn’t shown up by dinnertime last night and Noah was asking where he was, Sean told him just that.

“He’s not coming, son. He flaked out.”

“What does ‘flake’ mean?” Noah wanted to know.

I explained to him that someone who says that they will do something, then doesn’t do it, is called a “flake.” So Daddy said Chris was being a flake because he said he would come over, then didn’t.

“Oh, like the Home Teachers? Are they flakes?”

Oh. My. Gosh. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

That child is wise beyond his years.

 

 

*For the record, we have good Home Teachers. And I have NEVER called them flakes. And I’m the one who needs to call and reschedule our visit next week due to a family birthday party…

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Filed under Church, Kids

Self-Reflection from the Sidelines

I am a competitive person.

If I go to the gym, you can rest assured that I am looking at the settings on the treadmill/spin bike/elliptical machine next to me. As neurotic as it may sound, I don’t want to feel like I’m being “beat” by the person I’ll never see again working out on the next machine over.

Now, don’t confuse this with meaning that I’m overly athletic. I was a cheerleader. And, since I didn’t grow up in Texas, I wasn’t that kind of cheerleader. The average 1.5 cheerleading competitions my school attended every year were not of the caliber that made it onto ESPN. Heck, I don’t think that they even made the eleven o’clock local news. No, we pretty much just jumped up and down and screamed until we lost our voices. Good times. Cute outfits. Not overly athletic.

Ahhh…but church sports. It is only as I look back as an adult that I see just how much my competitive personality was sprouting there. My church had a very organized basketball program. We had a season. We had a schedule to play against the other congregations in the area. We held practices and ran plays.

If I remember correctly, we won the playoffs all six years that I played.

We played well together as a team (for the most part). But we were, ahem, aggressive. Actually, I remember one of the refs once yelling at us that we gave him more attitude than the boys. We regularly fouled out players. Heck, we intentionally did it when we thought a foul could get us an advantage. We’d just plan out who would do the fouling so as to lose the least important players for the remainder of the game.

I remember one week, showing up for a game despite the fact that I had been vomiting for three solid days prior. I was white as a sheet, could barely stay upright, and had lost about seven pounds from the puking. As it happened, several of our girls couldn’t make it to the game—I played, or we forfeited.

I didn’t take a break that whole game.

I really don’t play a lot of sports anymore, what with constantly being either pregnant or taking care of newborns for the past several years. So I don’t usually think about that weird competitiveness that comes out in me when I am doing something athletic.

It was a good thing I was pregnant tonight.

Our youth had a combined Young Men/Young Women activity this evening. They played indoor kickball. It is amazing that no one ended up with a concussion.

One of the young men playing the game decided to take an intimidation approach with the opposing team’s kickers. As soon as the ball was rolled, he would run right in front of and towards the kicker. Kicker after kicker would mess up out of fear of hitting him with the ball.

One of our leaders accidentally did peg him at one point. Her face showed sheer mortification and she repeatedly yelled “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” while running to first base. (Hmmmm…come to think of it, she did still run, so maybe she didn’t feel quite that bad after all.)

As I watched, I knew exactly how I would be inclined to react if it were me.

I just kept imagining stepping up to the plate and calmly explaining to that young man the point value I had assigned to his body parts. Five for a knee cap. Ten for the head. Just to make it clear that, should he choose to run in front of it, his proximity to the path of the ball would make absolutely no difference to me. Quite frankly, I’d see him less as a potential casualty and more as an interesting target. Because, when someone plays a game that way, it’s a challenge.

And I’m just that competitive.

 

 

And the people I go to church with are now questioning the wisdom of allowing me to work with the youth. 😉

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Filed under A Scary Look into My Mind, Church, The Me Behind the Mommy

Sometimes, It’s Easier than You Think. Sometimes, It’s Not.

I can’t remember if I have mentioned this yet, but Caleb has been a bit different since our car accident. Not in everyday life so much, just in church. Caleb has always loved going to nursery. He is the only one of my kids that I didn’t need to help adjust to the idea of going into the nursery (in our church, kids don’t start going to the nursery until they are eighteen months old). He just went right in. He quickly got to the point where he was excited to go every Sunday. We would drop him off with a smile on his face, and pick him up to happy explanations of what he had done that week.

Since the car accident, he has refused to go into the nursery alone. He would cry and cling to me when I tried to drop him off. I decided to stay until he felt comfortable. He clung to me and melted down if I tried to leave. For a couple of weeks, when it was time for me to go into the Young Women’s classes, I would take Caleb to Sean in Primary. One week, I decided to see what would happen if I took a bit harder of a line on it. I left him, melting down, and went to class. Since he wasn’t calming down, one of his teachers offered to bring him to my class every ten minutes or so and let him see that I was still nearby. It kind of worked for twenty minutes or so. Eventually, though, I ended up going back in with him.

This week, I decided that I would just commit to spending both hours in the nursery in an attempt to give him a whole Sunday without being upset. The first hour went great. He interacted with the other kids some and paid attention to the lesson. When the toys came out, I figured it was safe to take a pregnant lady break. I told the nursery leaders that I was going to go to the restroom, then told Caleb that I needed to go potty but I would be back in a couple of minutes. He started crying. I told him that Eli was going to stay in the nursery, too (surely, having his little brother there would reassure him that I was coming back, right?). He grabbed my leg and held on for dear life. One of his teachers, Jenn (the awesome one who had brought him to me at ten-minute intervals before), picked him up and I headed out the door.

By the time I came back a few minutes later, he was in a state that I have never seen him in. He was curled up in a ball on the floor, eyes closed tight, crying so hard that even his hands were turning red. I picked him up, saying “see, I came back.” He stayed rigid, kept his eyes closed tight, and started trying to kick me.

“He thinks you’re me,” Jenn told me.

Um, yeah.

As soon as I said, “Caleb, it’s Mommy. I’m back.” he relaxed, put his arms around me, and stopped screaming. It took awhile before he would play with the toys again.

It was heartbreaking.

I have no idea how to help him. When my other boys had issues with going to nursery, I would comfort them for a few weeks, then wean them off of having me there. But that was just normal separation anxiety. This is different. I don’t feel like I can expect him to just get over it. There is obviously something going on, and the timing is just too coincidental. I just have no idea how to help him.

In the meantime, though, we did have a talk about not kicking me—even if (especially if!) he thinks I’m one of his teachers.

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Lately, Noah has been talking about wanting to have his own room. Really, the timing is pretty good—the three older boys are all in the same bedroom, and there is no way that we would be able to put a fourth bed in there when it’s time for Eli to move out of our room. My ultimate plan was going to be to put Noah and Wyatt into the bedroom downstairs, have Caleb and Eli in the current bedroom and, when the time comes, either put the baby in one of those two bedrooms if it is a boy, or by itself in the tiny fourth bedroom if it is a girl.

When Noah started asking seriously last week for his own room, Sean decided to start implementing that plan. He instantly moved Noah’s dresser downstairs and was ready to take the bed down, too. I decided to encourage him to not jump the gun—we’re talking about a kid who still comes into our room most nights. I was highly skeptical that he would actually be willing to sleep in the basement alone.

Last night, Noah said he was ready. Since the mattress to the spare bed was still in that room, we laid it on the floor and piled on some blankets. For reassurance (just as much ours as his) we set up the baby monitor in the bedroom. We kissed him goodnight and waited to see what would happen.

He fell asleep right away. Even more amazing, he slept through the whole night. Actually, he slept in almost an hour later than his brothers this morning.

He’s down there again tonight. He did have one moment of concern where the ferret making noises in his cage sent Noah scurrying up the stairs with his pillow. Sean reassured him and he went back down. He’s asleep now—we’ll see how tonight goes.

I can’t believe my baby is suddenly enough of a big boy to have his own bedroom in the basement.

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Filed under Church, Daily Life, Kids, Parenting

Like the Stars

In case you have been wondering–no, I’m not dead. My absence this week (if you even noticed at all), was only due to me feeling like I was dying.

Colds suck.

You know that you are sick when you start believing that the five-year-old might be mature enough to watch the baby. Or when you stop doing superfluous things like showering and brushing your teeth. Or when you call your husband half an hour into the work day to ask him to come home early, then spend the rest of the day essentially catatonic on the couch.

And the worst part? That would be when our satellite decided to go out for no good reason. Do you know how awful it is to be stuck on the couch and only have stuff that you forgot to erase off of the DVR to watch over and over?

Thank heavens I’m feeling like a person again.

I recovered in time for our Young Women in Excellence program last night. The girls did a beautiful program with lots of songs and narration that focused on stars and being a light to the world. I think that everyone was touched by the Spirit during the program.

Of course, for me, the theme of the stars brought up a lot of old memories. That used to be a theme/running joke in my life.

When I was a teenager, I became friends with a young man that I went to church with. He and I really started becoming friends right around the time that he was having a crisis of faith. Or an explosion of social life. He had gone from being a somewhat chubby trombone player in the high school band to a weight lifting, football playing, “Greek god” (my mother came up with that one) over the course of one summer. That fast and drastic of a change got him a lot of attention–not the kind that necessarily would make a teenage boy feel like clinging to religion.

Still, he and I became very good friends. We would talk a lot about life. He was a couple of years old than I was, and left for college. During that time, when I was insecure about not having a boyfriend, he would come home from college and ask me who I was dating. When I would tell him that I wasn’t, he would insist that it had to do with a choice I was making because any guy would want to date me. He did more for my self esteem at that point in my life than he would ever know.

One summer, when he was home from school and we were hanging out a lot, the stars became a regular topic of conversation for us. It started when I said how much a loved them. He asked why, and I smiled and said it was because I planned to have my own someday.

After that, he would tease me whenever I commented about the lack of stars some evening.

“They’re right there,” he would tell me.

“Where?” I would ask, looking up into the sky.

“Right there…behind the clouds.”

We had several conversations after that about his relationship with religion. I firmly believed that his testimony was like the stars–right there, behind the clouds.

It has been seven years since I’ve talked to my friend. Every so often, something reminds me of him, and I wonder how he is doing. I’ve always regretted that I wasn’t able to be the change in his life that I felt he was in mine.

I still hope that, someday, he’ll see the stars.

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Filed under Church, Faith