Friday, June 27, 2014

Why retaliation?

retaliate  (rɪˈtælɪˌeɪt)
1. ( intr ) to take retributory action, esp by returning some injury or wrong in kind
2. ( intr ) to cast (accustations) back upon a person
3. rare  ( tr ) to avenge (an injury, wrong, etc)

In the last couple of weeks I've had a couple of close encounters with retaliation. Frankly, I don't understand it. We live in this culture where everyone is hyper-sensitive and hyper-aware of "bullying" and the mean-ness is being dished out all over the place. Frankly, I believe that most bullying originates from a place of feeling bullied. It is a power thing. But why? Why do we as human beings feel that we (or our loved ones) must be avenged? Is it the bully-culture? Is it the movies we watch? What is going on?

Last week my son, who is not always an angel, but is truthfully the kindest and most outwardly aware child I've met in all my life, was playing soccer with some cousins, older and younger. I still don't understand all the circumstances but the older cousin kicked my son in the foot, really hard. Because this older cousin is sometimes a tease and my son doesn't know how to take that because he is only usually teased by his dad, he automatically thought this kick was on purpose. My husband had been outside and watched it happen and also thought, since it could have been prevented but wasn't, that it might have been done purposefully as well. Without giving any heed or caution to this older cousin's feelings, or to where he was coming from, or his side of the story, I stormed into the middle of the family gathering where he was now sitting with his family, and pointed my finger at him and said loudly for all to hear, "Did you kick my son?" To which he replies, completely surprised by my accusation in such a setting (because I am not normally like this), "Well he kicked me too!" To which I respond, "He is 11 and you are 17 and much stronger, that shouldn't matter!"  His response, "I didn't do it on purpose. Does he think I kicked him on purpose? It was an accident!"

At this point I see his mother, a very kind and reasonable person, look at me wide-eyed and surprised at my method of delivery in handling this. Her look makes me think twice, I calm down and try to pretend all is okay and that this awful and awkward situation didn't happen. Yeah, right. This awesome older cousin comes into the house five minutes later where my son has his swollen foot propped up with ice on it and sincerely apologizes for what happened. After a few minutes I go to find his mom to apologize for my immature behavior and find out her son has left the party shamed and embarrassed. I did that to him.  A good kid, who made a mistake, like all of us do, left our family gathering because of me. His mom, my friend, asked me kindly to pull him aside next time and try to calmly find out what happened instead of "embarrassing both him and yourself." Point taken.

I've never reacted that way to someone outside my own home before. I fly off the handle all the time within the walls of my own home (which I know needs to change, because I'll only be perpetuating this whole bully cycle), but never to someone younger than me, though while almost an adult, is still a child. I can't begin tell you how ashamed I felt. As a result, I, too, left the party with my family without saying goodbye to anyone. Ready to crawl into the smallest hole I could find. Sleep did not come easy that night.

As fate and karma, or whatever you want to call it, would have it the very next day this same son of mine had just lost a baseball game, by a lot. My son is a good sport and realizes that relationships are more important than winning a game. He went out and congratulated the other team on their win and that was that. Later that night we got a very crude and cuss-filled text from the coach/parent of the opposite team calling my son names and telling my husband what an awful parent he was and how all respect for him and my son was lost because my son allegedly told his kid, "You suck" claiming that there was at least two other "witnesses" who are "Mormons" who also heard my son say this. So we asked my son what happened and he was shocked! First of all, my son doesn't say things like that. Second, if he did and realized that a problem was created and someone's feelings were hurt, he would be the first to admit it an apologize; that's just the kind of kid he is. Third, why in the world is an adult man assuming the worst about another kid and then attacking him in this manner? He wasn't looking for a life lesson to be learned here, or even an apology. He just wanted to inflict damage and pain on my son. To shame him and make him feel small.

Light bulb goes on. That is exactly what I did to the older cousin last night. Assuming the worst and then flying off the handle. Wow I hate karma. Sad thing is, this coach/parent/supposed adult has taken it too far. The mom got involved also, all via texting mind you, and excuses her (and her husband's) behavior by saying, "When someone hurts my kid the mama bear comes out." I recognize this same feeling as it is the one I instinctively went with the night before, but now in my calmer state, find it absolutely ridiculous that we excuse poor, mean, and immature behavior all in the name of protecting and defending our children, instead of teaching them that bad things sometimes happen, no one is perfect, I'm sorry that happened to you, but let's not assume the worst about another person, ad most importantly let's not retaliate, period.

By the way, the next day my son made a point to find the boy who had been "wronged" and apologized that his feelings were hurt and reassured him that he didn't think he "sucked" and thought he was a good person and a good ball player and wouldn't say something hurtful to him. Since then, this kid's dad ignores my son and husband except for when he laughs and mocks my son openly in public at ball games when he makes mistakes. Good example, dad.

Then yesterday we attended a funeral of a sweet girl who took her own life. There were many circumstances involved that culminated in the act, one of which was bullying. Upon scrolling through her older brother's Facebook page this morning, I found a "threat" he wrote to whoever bullied her that he would find out who they were and he would come after them. He, too, was bullied very badly in high school.  And while I really don't believe he would do anything harmful to anyone, why do we instantly react this way? We bully right back. We retaliate. Tit for that, Eye for eye, Tooth for tooth. Not only do we retaliate, but we have now started this sad cycle of taking two teeth for the one you took from me. Take both eyes for the one you took from me. Not only should you pay but you should also suffer for what you did. Compensation plus more so that I am back on top and more powerful than you for what I think you did to me.

Why?I don't understand this human reaction? This mama bear/papa bear reaction? This, I have to avenge the wrongs that have been committed by issuing more wrongs through vengeance and cruelty.

I have been bullied. I get criticized. Everyday I'm made to feel small in some way, either by myself or an outside source. Sometimes I can take it in and move forward constructively with it and see that maybe that person is having a really hard day, maybe that person didn't realize how hurtful those words were. Then there are other times when I don't feel strong and thus feel stripped of all power and dignity. In those moments, MOST IRONICALLY, I struggle not to take power away from someone else, or make someone else feel small, especially my children. Isn't that sad? It's beyond sad. I feel humiliated and small, so my first reaction is to make someone (who is already small) feel smaller? What is wrong with us? I see it happening all the time. It's like a handful of mud that we don't want to hold, so we keep passing it on, yet are still dirty from the exchange. I'm pretty sure that most of us have mud on our hands.


Bullying is wrong. Making someone feel small is wrong. But then turning around and doing it to someone else, might be worse, especially when that someone else is a child, or doing it to another child on behalf of a child.GAH! .

How do we stop the cycle? How do I teach my children that not only is bullying wrong, but so is retaliation? Turning the other cheek is not taught the way it used to be. I think children are being taught the exact opposite! Children are not learning to stand up for themselves in kind and positive ways or how solve these issues on their own. Parents are jumping in to react and retaliate for them, even before all sides of a story are heard! Why?

Has bringing attention to bullying made this a problem? I really don't see any benefits from the anti-bullying campaigns other than making more children feel like victims. I really think the problem lies in retaliation. Behind every alleged "bully" is someone who felt powerless. They are reacting to that feeling by taking someone else's power away, be it real or imagined.

Now, of course, there will be some exceptions, but I really believe most bullying happens because someone is trying to gain control and pride back after having lost it for some reason or another. I really believe most kids don't intend to be mean. Most children are just candid and curious. Many times we misconstrue a person's intent and feel insulted when they don't say something the way we wold have liked them too. As they age, children can be taught to be more careful with one another's feelings. But this instant labeling of someone as a bully is just as harmful, if not more so, as anything they could have said or done.

Now don't get me wrong. Bullying is real and does happen. Some kids (and adults) ARE cruel and relentless and mean and seemingly heartless. What I'm upset about is calling everyone who allegedly does a mean thing a bully and assuming the worst before we even know the whole story. Or still assuming the worst and hoping the worst for the "bully" even when we know the whole story.

Recently I saw a mother be presented with award for speaking out for and in behalf of her young daughter who was molested by a young teenage family member. She called him "the perpetrator" and "he got what he deserved" and "punished for his crime" and you could hear the anger and bitterness dripping from her voice as she talked about her own family member. While I don't want to discount the pain she and her family went through, I couldn't help but think of the teenager and his parents and his family. The words she used and the vengeance with which she pursued him and his family was almost mean and relentless. He was still a child too when all this happened. A child whose life will be forever marred by a terrible mistake. I'm sure the pain of the mistake alone will be enough to haunt him the rest of his life. Why must this mother heap all the anger and powerlessness onto this boy?

Maybe I'm opening a can of worms here. The Lord is probably going to teach me more about this. Life has a way of throwing you into the middle of these situations to teach you empathy and show you what it is like first hand. I don't want to know that kind of anger ever again. The kind that makes me want to hurt someone else. Anger has a way of making all love and logic disappear. I need to figure out a way to teach myself and my children how to deal with that feeling of powerlessness so that they don't hurt others or themselves.

Please, Lord, let these experiences I've listed here be enough to teach me what I have to know so that my children won't have to suffer because of me until I learn it.

This is just a rant. I really don't believe more than two people will really read this. I just needed to get it out of my head. I am still forming ideas and opinions and methods for solving this. I just can't have it banging around in my head anymore. By hashing it out here, I can keep it from boiling over in my head and thus out my mouth at inappropriate times and places. Or perhaps this is not the appropriate place.I just need to send it out into the universe and see what comes back, I guess. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Might as well

It's been a long while (over 1-1/2 years) since I've blogged anything (sounds like the beginning of all my journal entries). Huh. That went really fast. I'm not so good at recording my life history. Sorry self and future generations, should any of this even survive that long.

So here I am 36 weeks pregnant with #4, a girl, who we think we are going to name Ella after my grandpa's grandma. And all I want to do is sleep...really. I have a whole list of things that my brain tells me I should be doing and need to be doing ranging from housework to organization to teaching the kids, experiencing all sorts of amazing life things/knowledge with my kids, finding new, healthy and cheap meal ideas, exercising, socializing, making and recording memories, etc, etc, but all I want to do is sleep. It doesn't feel so much like a depression thing as it does an "I'm a 35 year old pregnant woman who is entitled to some rest and relaxation this lazy summer while I make a baby" kind of feeling. I know, downright Diva of me, right?

Here has been my lazy baby-growing schedule the last 2-3 weeks (okay, let's be honest, at least a month or more):
-Wake up about 8:30/9:00 ish to either kids fighting or asking me when I'm finally going to get up. If the kids haven't already made themselves some breakfast, I'll pull out the cereal and milk and yell, "Come eat Breakfast!" I'll eat, maybe shower, make sure the kids have showered and dressed, then go back to bed for an hour nap.
-Get up about 10:30 and maybe throw a load of laundry in the washer if Reagan already hasn't, take a shower if I already haven't, and get dressed in big, over-sized, make me feel like an elephant maternity clothes. YAY!
-Take the kids to the free school lunch program because 1) I don't have to make lunch, and 2) I don't have money for groceries anyway.
-Get home and take another nap because apparently watching my children eat wears me out completely. This time I sleep for about 2-3 hours while my children clean their rooms, do their jobs, do my jobs or wreak havoc. Give or take, it's a toss up and surprise each day.
-About this time I start thinking, "Well, I'd better make it look like I did something today, so I'll make my bed, and maybe do some dishes. Oh, I guess I'd better think about dinner." So I putter around at a snail's pace trying not to moan too loudly as my aching back tries to keep me from walking at all. (I know, poor, poor mommy).
-By time I've moved the pace of molasses, we finally eat dinner around 7:30/8:00 (yes, I've been working on the kitchen and dinner for almost three hours). The awesome little people I've bored into submission, clean up most of the mess from dinner, and I putter around some more trying to feel like I've accomplished something, but give up and go get in bed, though not before yelling outside at the kids who are trampoline junkies to come inside and get ready for bed.
-An hour or so later, the kids finally have pajamas on, their teeth might be brushed and we might have read a story. Ryan has come home somewhere in this weird time frame and we say  family prayer. The kids watch or touch my belly as baby sister moves around for a bit, they kiss my belly goodnight and we all go to bed. Though, not really, because then the girls read books and laugh and giggle (or argue) together until about 11:00, Ryder stays up reading, playing with legos or "cleaning his room" (still haven't figured that one out since it still looks like Mt St. Helen's just went off in there each morning) till about midnight, and Ryan and I are watching our DVRed NCIS, Big Bang Theory, or How I Met Your Mother till each of us randomly falls asleep with the tv still on.
-Next, the real fun begins, the I'm-so-uncomfortable-how-am-I-possibly-going-to-acutally-get-some-real-sleep kind of fun. Mix that with "Holy moly I've got to pee again, RIGHT NOW" and "Man, why are the commercials of the still-on tv so dang loud?" and we have a recipe for maybe 3 hours of sleep. After getting up, honest-to-goodness, 4-5 times just to pee, then turn off the tv, roll over (which takes at least 5 minutes) a good five times each night, I guess it's no wonder that I feel the need to sleep all dang day.

So there you have it folks, my lazy summer. I have made a schedule of what I call fun themed days to make my kids believe we really are having a fun summer, as follows: Baking day (we make a treat to give away and not eat it all by ourselves, though this one has kind of bombed because you need groceries to actually make something), Game day (play board games, the Wii, or anything else that could be fun without too much physical effort on my part), Library/Reading day (my voracious readers and their mother get to read all day long if they want), Movie day (I bought dollar theater movie passes where once a week they are entertained for 1-1/2 hours while I take a nap in a cool, dark theater), and Field trip/swimming day (the one day a week we go do something fun-ish). So far, so good. I have them fooled into thinking we are having a grand ol' time, most of the time anyway.

In the meantime, the house (I mean the upstairs of the house) is barely maintained and all the organizing that needs to take place in the basement is continuing to gather dust and I continue to wish I was always asleep Sad thing is, summer time is slipping quickly away. I really am sad to see school starting again, especially before baby is due to arrive..I'm not looking forward to the rigid schedule or the homework or the missing my babies were gathered around me all day feeling while feeling even more sleep-deprived with a newborn in the house. I wish the kids could have had the whole summer to play with her before going back to school. At this point, she will be here the week after they start school, which should be really interesting in the "who is going to take care of the kids and get them to and from school while I am giving birth to kid-servant #4?" department. I want Ryan at the hospital with me as much as possible, so I still have that detail to work out, along with a bajillion others.

For instance, where do we put this new angel? Right now, all the baby stuff sits waiting in the front room, because we really don't have anywhere for her to land. We were hoping Ryder's room, but as I mentioned before, Mt. St. Helen's, right? I still don't have the crib up, I don't have the car seat ready/washed, I don't have my bags packed, I haven't pre-registered at the hospital, I haven't even toured the hospital I've never given birth at before (and frankly, don't want to), I haven't talked with insurance co yet because I really don't want to be told how much I'm going to have to pay (didn't have this insurance for the birth of any of the other kids), and so on and so on. Blah, blah, blah.

So why am I posting today? 1) To get out of doing other work that I'm supposed to be doing right now, of course. 2) Hoping to show myself the reality of my ridiculousness so I can be shocked back into actually doing something other than sleeping, 3) I feel like I owe the world a confession/apology for some odd reason as to why I have not been contributing to the greater good, or to any good for that matter.

And there you have it (while my awesome Reagan just did a load of laundry and is now, on her own accord, voluntarily cleaning and vacuuming out the couches upstairs). Happy reading. Maybe you'll hear from me again tomorrow when I tell you I actually got something done. Here's to hoping.

p.s. Thank goodness for my children who have worked their butts off this summer to do their jobs without any real incentive other than they like to help me out (and not get yelled at, I'm such a good mom). They have totally been my sanity-savers this summer. And also thanks for a husband who hasn't left me with all the intensely aggressive emotions that come spewing out of my mouth. Wow...I am a piece of work. Old and pregnant is really not a good combination. Whose idea was this anyway. Sheesh!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Five Things I'm Thankful For

Apparently, I fell off the "I'm Thankful" wagon. Here goes my attempt to get back on.

I am thankful for:

1) My hard-working, beaten down, criticized, abused and driven, amazing husband (caveat: I never said I wouldn't be grateful for the same thing more than once). All you nay-sayers, say what you want, but not here on MY blog. If you do, I am telling you right now that I will delete it.

While he, nor I, nor you are perfect, he tries so very hard to do what is right, especially in regards to the great stewardship of the thing called politics (Utah's 2011 Legislative session just convened). While I understand "the media" has a job to do, I have a severe dislike for the way they distort things and make mountains out of molehills (or absolutely nothing for that matter). My husband spends so much time defending the choices he makes, which I understand comes with politics, but the downright meanness kills me. If you have an issue with a decision he made, just talk to him. No need to name call, belittle, begrudge or even dislike. Just ask and find out why he made the choice he did. Don't assume he is corrupt. Don't assume he did it blindly or ignorantly. Don't assume he can't or won't do anything to improve a situation. Don't assume any politician is corrupt for that matter. I have met many good and amazing people/lifetime friends on both sides of the aisle in our journey with the Legislature. My view of politicians has done a complete turn-about. Most politicians are good and honorable men and women who have the desire to do what is best for the people, the state, the nation, etc. I am sickened (yep, that's right, literally sickened, if only you could see the lump in my throat and feel the pit in my stomach) by the assumptions people make about my husband, especially when 95% have NEVER BOTHERED TO SPEAK WITH HIM OR HAVE AN AMICABLE CONSERVATION WITH HIM.

I am married to my hero, and while I don't think it would help him any for me to try and defend him in the public arena, I will do it here, among friends and family who also know what a wonderful man he is.

So to all the nay-sayers: while he is taking higher ground and NOT pointing out the flaws in YOUR logic, or questioning YOUR sanity, or saying horrible, demeaning and untrue things about YOU, let ME take a stand to tell you all that YOU ARE WRONG in your assumptions and I, as one of his most ardent admirers, will continue to support and defend him regardless of your opinion. While I may not be able to do so with great words that move people to riot (as YOU do), I will do it nonetheless. Frankly, if you think you can do it better, go for it. I encourage anyone who believes they can make a real difference and have something to offer to their community, state, nation to run for office. I think everyone should be in political office (and wait tables) at some point in their lives. The world would be a lot more compassionate place to live. So there... (now I am stepping off my soapbox).

2) Princess dress-up clothes. My daughters and their friends are entertained for HOURS in Imagination Land while I get loads of other "stuff" done. I love to see my princesses twirl and flit and prance around my living room. In my heart, I wish I was as light and carefree and felt as beautiful and elegant as they do as they imagine. I remember that feeling and hope to find it in my own heart again one day.

3) The scriptures. I am currently reading "The Book of Mormon Made Easier" by David J. Ridges... and I love it. I keep pen, a scripture-reading journal and my marking pencil handy as I spend time studying, not just casually reading, The Book of Mormon. I know it's true and I love the power I feel in our home as I read and learn and apply.

4) Good books. I LOVE to read. I read when I shouldn't. I read when I need to be transcribing, or doing laundry, or making dinner or even sleeping (heaven forbid). I love to read (did I mention that). Even more, I love that I have to yell at my son to stop reading and get his shoes on because his ride for school will be here any minute!

5a) I LOVE DISNEYLAND! While I totally get that Main Street staying open a good 1/2 hour before the park does and remains open a full hour after the park closes is just to snag my money and make a profit (along with the astronomical price of admission), I would do it all again to see the looks on my kid's faces, to hear their spontaneous laughter and squeals of joy as as we played together! I hope they NEVER forget the fun we had there. I know I never will!

5b) Family vacations. It was so nice to take off the heavy coat of responsibility and just go play and make memories with my family (of course it made it that much harder to put the darn thing back on when we pulled into the driveway, sob, sob). This will definitely not be the last time we do that!

What five things are YOU thankful for?

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 24. 2010

Five things I am thankful for today:

1) The quarterly Wilcox Family birthday party. While we all inevitably spend the first 30 minutes or so in the uncomfortable we-haven't-seen-or-talked-with-each-other-since-the-last-birthday-party kind of awkwardness, by the end of the night, we are hugging and chatting and sharing our lives once again. So many different personalities, so many walks of life, so many life experiences all in one room, in one family! How blessed I am to be a part of it!

2) The strength of Sarah, Stephanie, Rachel, Spencer, Amanda and Aaron. Oneal has been gone almost 2-1/2 years now... hard years for all of us, but especially for his wife and children. I can't imagine the sorrow and demons with which they've had to struggle. I anticipate the trials rippling from his death are not past, but I am thankful for their continued faith and stick-to-it-ness. I pray to never understand first hand or experience this variety of pain, but I hope to be as strong as they when faced with adversity. Oh, how I love you guys!

3) The unconditional love of Grandma Betty. She is and always has been one of the most loving people I know. When I grow up, I want to be like Gma Betty. It has been one year since Grandpa died... (another spiritual giant whom I greatly admire and respect). My insightful husband took opportunity to call her on the anniversary of his death and talked with her for hours, asking her questions about their lives together and then recording them for future generations. Oh how I love them. Even with Gpa gone, I still think of them as a duo. I always find safety in her embraces... and I love watching my children experience her love as well.

4) Chelsie's yummy pumpkin bars. I love Fall. I love pumpkin. I love homemade cream cheese frosting. Put all of them together and I am one happy gal! Chelsie is one of the best bakers I know and so when I found her pumpkin bar recipe on her blog, I snatched it up right away and made a batch for family party! Thank goodness there were so many desserts that I got to bring half the sheet of cake home! My cute sis-in-law Jenny used to make pumpkin bars. While making them I couldn't help but think of her. I hope she knows how much I love her. I hope she knows I deeply regret not taking opportunity to share more of our lives together before she left. I hope she know I miss her.

5) Time spent with my babies and their awesome daddy! We were finishing up construction of the desk and watched the show "BABIES" together as a family while we did it. While there was a some biology/anatomy I wasn't planning on having to explain to my children, it was a fun show to watch and my kids got a kick out it! I got to hold my J and cuddle with my M.R. and giggle with my R. They (kids and dad) all want another baby in the house, so they enjoyed seeing one first hand since Mommy still isn't on board with the idea.

Why is that? (I keep wondering to myself...and now you). Why am I not ready? My current baby is already three years old... the other kids only have 2 to 2-1/2 years between them... Even if i were to get pregnant now (oh boy), there would be four years between them. I keep feeling like something is wrong with me in that I have such little desire to have another baby. I have fairly easy pregnancies, relatively easy deliveries, so I feel like a big, whiny baby; BUT emotionally, I REALLY struggle all throughout pregnancy and even the 1-1/2 years ensuing. I take a long time to emotionally recover. I don't know if that's a chemical thing or a maturity thing... but whenever I think about having another child, I think about regression. I don't think I am spiritually mature enough to handle that right now... maybe I should exercise some faith and go for it anyway. Time will tell, I guess.

Wow.... Didn't expect the telling of that thankful point to lead to this... Hmmm... gonna go now.

What five things are YOU thankful for TODAY?

October 23, 2010

Five things I am thankful for TODAY:

1) Beautiful Fall scenery at the trout farm. The colors were so vibrant and the rain completely enhanced that! It was a joy to be outdoors, even though it was pouring rain. We were protected from the wetness by a bowery, so we could thoroughly enjoy the hot cocoa and conversation.

Watching the intense colors and being thankful for their beauty got me thinking about the changing of seasons. There are so many lessons Heavenly Father teaches us in just the changes and contrasts. I can think of all sorts of analogies ranging from the pride cycle, to death, to spiritual progression and putting off the natural man. The most interesting thing about the Autumn season is how much intense beauty there is in the dying of the foliage. We usually don't associate the word "beauty" with death or dying yet many of us describe the changing leaves this time of year as beautiful... and isn't interesting that Halloween is this time of year, associating death with ugliness and scary things? YET, because we can all are drawn to the changing colors and joys of nature this time of year, don't you think He is trying to show us something, teach us something about death, in all it's forms? What is it teaching you?

2) Bella's Mexican Grill. Joe Cottam is one amazing person. He and his dad run the show and though I don't know many details, I am thoroughly impressed with the way they run their business. First, their food is DELICIOUS and second, they donate as much as they possibly can to the community. I see them everywhere! And it's not just a promoting their business kind of thing... they want to serve and you can truly sense that. I don't think I've ever thought of a food establishment as a service, but Bella's is. I encourage anyone who reads this (all two of you), to frequent Joe's place as often as you can.

3) All the candidates and elected officials who participated in our "Meet the Candidate" night. Lt. Governor Bell, Congressman Rob Bishop, Kerry Gibson (candidate for Weber County Commission), Terry Thompson (candidate for Weber County Sheriff), Ricky Hatch (candidate for Weber County Clerk/Auditor) braved the weather and had a great time. I, unfortunately, didn't get to hear anything they had to say in that my self-assigned station was at the entrance keeping track of the attendance, but I am thankful they came to support Ryan and to meet the good people of our district.

4) The good people of our district, friends and family who also braved the weather. We had over 125 people in attendance. Imagine what would have happened if the weather cooperated. I think we are going to make this an annual thing. It's just too much fun and just too beautiful to pass that up!

5) My amazing husband. There just aren't words to describe his dedication and talents. I am amazed daily by what he does. He is balancing 10-20 hard things every minute of every day. The only time he rests, is when he sleeps...and those hours seem to be less and less these days. It has been a joy to watch him blossom in his different roles. He is a smart man, a logical man, a compassionate man and it is fun to see those qualities enhanced and used in such a beautiful manner. As his wife, I get to see first-hand how he deliberates over things, how he worries and prays and ponders what it is he should do... not just with politics, but in all aspects of life. It is truly an honor to be his wife. Many times I stand back in awe...I feel like I am one of his groupies! He would be embarrassed by all this, so I will conclude. BUT let it be known to all of internet-land and the blogging world, that I think my intelligent, passionate, loving, witty, handsome, spiritual giant of a man is the best thing that ever could have happened to me!

What five things are YOU thankful for TODAY?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 22, 2010.....

Today I am thankful for:
1) R's friends who showed up to support him with his Reflections Entry. The theme this year is "Together we can..." R has filled in the blank with ..."make a better community." He knew as soon as he brought the entry form home that he wanted to make a movie about cleaning up trash around the neighborhood, specifically the empty lot just down the street from us. He made a sign-up sheet to show all his friends at school, I sent a parent note stating the details and POOF! We had a handful of volunteers show up to help us! Unfortunately, because I don't seem to think more than one day ahead, sometimes just a couple of hours, I failed to charge the battery of the video camera! Thank goodness for friends who are camera-ready and willing to drive it down to me, more specifically Heather (see previous blog entry). We spent an hour and felt really good about what we were doing! I am so thankful for R's supportive friends and their parents! Now if only we had given him a lesson in filmography before we got started...
2) Frozen pizza when dinner plans fall through and I have three hungry gremlins threatening to tear down the house if I don't feed them ASAP!

3) Plans for a fun 2nd grade Halloween party and fun mothers to work with to do it. I have made a brand new friend in the process.

4) Clean laundry (not folded or put away and currently piled on my kitchen cabinet so that I will do it sooner than later... but CLEAN nonetheless)!

5. Serving in the Primary! I LOVE my calling! I LOVE teaching these kids. I LOVE teaching the basic gospel truths where the Spirit can testify to their hearts and mine. I LOVE primary songs and the simple but poignant doctrine therein and the spirit they bring. And I LOVE that my babies get to hear and see my testimony in action in a more concentrated setting (away from all the whining and yelling and fighting from them and the "clean your rooms" and "turn off the tv" and "NOW" from me).

What are five things YOU are thankful for TODAY?

p.s. No matter what I've done, I can't seem to fix the bold in some places and different fonts and sizes! How funny!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Well, I've noticed that when the "trials" of life weigh me down, it is because I am forgetting to be grateful. Soooo, while all is good in Me-Land, I figured I'd gather some insurance, an arsenal per se, of happy thoughts for the days when pixie dust just can't be found and all I can hear is the tick-tock of the clock in that wiley gator's belly telling me how quickly my time for positive change is running out.

In line with President Monson's address regarding Living with Gratitude as well as President Eyring's talk a few (maybe one or two) sessions back about looking for and recording the hand of God in our lives daily, I want to check in here regularly (hopefully daily) to list at least five things I am grateful for and why. Please feel free to leave your own lists as well. Let's be thankful together!

1. Crockpots full of yummy dinner after longs days with preschool and piano lessons, and that after eight weeks of teaching this school year, I finally had the foresight to put something together BEFORE I left this morning!

2. Cilantro (yum). It makes everything tastes fresh and healthy and gourmet-ish (at least to my taste buds).

3. Brenda. She lets my independent princess just walk right into her home every other day, gives her a safe place to land and be loved and even feeds her yummy, nutritious lunches while I'm away!

4. My Gma & Gpa Beckstrom. Not only are they THE examples I look to in my family for their love of God, family, me and mine, but today they drove 35 min to attend a 15-min Kindergarten lunch with my princess. I was so honored they would do that for me/her. LOVE THEM!

Heather. She not only is my sweet friend that lifts me and inspires me and encourages me to be my best self with her awesome advice, listening ear, and powerhouse example, but we can laugh our guts out about all the "mom" things and all the life things and just find joy in living. We have a mutual appreciation for and love of music and even get to sing together regularly. Our kids are best friends and beg to go to each others houses regularly. They get that opportunity quite often in that we are also the type of friends that can count on each other to watch/take/babysit the kids if we need to go somewhere, even in a pinch. She is also the type of friend I can just "drop in on" and end up chatting with for hours about anything and everything. My husband knows if he can't find me, I'm probably at her place. He also knows that if I am going to her place, I probably won't be right back. She is the friend that is the emergency contact on any form I fill out because I know she is always ready and willing to take care of me/us. She is the friend I call in the middle of the night when there is an emergency. She is the friend I bounce ideas and concerns off. Not only does she love me, but she lets me love her too. I've told my husband on many occasions that she is probably the reason we moved into this neighborhood eight years ago.... the Lord knew I would need her.

What are five things YOU are thankful for TODAY?