Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Today

Today is a down day. Yesterday was a down day, but today the tide is strong. That is what it feels like inside my mind, when sadness comes to crush me -- that I am standing to my ankles in the water at the edge of the ocean, and a giant wave comes and knocks me over. I am injured, and wet, and the water is trying to drag me back into the ocean, even as I claw for solid earth and safety. I think that is okay to recognize the force of the ocean while not wanting to stay there. If my clothes get wet and my hands get muddy, that is okay. I was blessed this year to be taught and understand that no feeling is actually bad, I was meant to experience them all. So I try to let go of resistance and anger, while still recognizing that I have swam in that ocean and I'd rather not do it again, and I need to keep pulling up to the beach. Honestly, my kids will be okay if Mom wasn't on her A-game today. I may be on the couch in the other room but I'm not in my bed asleep. My husband will be okay if he's not priority one today. He's 37 and has taken care of himself pretty well up to this point. Tomorrow will be better. I can trust. I will keep working and processing and not give in to the pull of the tide, and soon my clothes won't be so heavy and the sun will dry me.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

We Had Hotdogs For Lunch

I wish this picture wasn't blurry, but it's still HILARIOUS! Liv loves to make dinner and especially baked potatoes because she can do that one on her own. Last night she set up the table for a "romantic dinner" for Daddy and I, but tragically, Daddy slept right through it (typical). This was not tragic for Benson! He stabbed his fork through Dad's potato and went for it! Funny guy.
Today was a regional conference broadcast for church, and it was great. Especially since two of my favorite speakers spoke -- Sister Neill F. Marriott of the YW general presidency ("Yielding Our Hearts To God" October 2015 General Conference) and Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Seventy ("Am I Good Enough? Will I Make It?" October 2016 General Conference). Elder Cornish also came to our Stake Conference last year and he is the bomb. Elder Taniela B. Wakolo of the Seventy and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve also spoke and were awesome. It was a great meeting. We sat in the RS room so our bums could have squishy chairs, because my bum is getting old and just can't take long periods in hard chairs anymore! I care about you, aging bum.

A few thoughts I had while listening that I want to remember: 
1) To think of my trials and tribulations as Learning and Experience and my weaknesses as Growth Opportunities. That's a great shift in focus, right?
2) I really, really want to become a person like the Good Samaritan. That's who I want to be.
3) To serve out of love instead of out of obligation.
4) We should follow President Monson's example of always giving 100% in our lives. Our 100% percent will be different in different seasons, but just give your 100% for right now and feel good that you are upright before the Lord.
5) Elder Christofferson gave a great tip. He said that as President Monson struggles with his health and is essentially a "silent prophet," the best way we can honor him and his prophetic calling is to study what he has taught in the past. I loved that idea and it really made sense to me.

Finished up three old half-written posts today, so I'm feeling pretty accomplished. I'm easily pleased, it seems.

In conclusion, and before I go lay Benson down for his nap (which I should have done before laying down myself, but I forgot), I finished season 2 of the show Stranger Things last week, and it was great. Then I saw this meme this week, and I got such a chuckle out of it, because I looooved The Babysitters Club as a kid. It appealed to both child and adult Marie. Awesome.
And I realize this is pop culture and it WILL NOT TRANSLATE to my great-great-grandchildren. That's okay. Just know Great Granny B found it funny and wanted to share it with her friends.
The End.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Battle Benson

I jinxed myself. I said Battle Benson was waining, and here I am in the middle of the Ardennes in the Battle of the Bulge (a little WWII analogy, in honor of the Double B and his WWII encyclopedic brain). The Battle rages! But I said it was almost over, so I have no one to blame but myself. He is a tiny terrorist this week. And I brought it on myself... me and my overconfidence. Silly Marie.
Sister McKeon, my 11th grade seminary teacher, would remind me that there is no power in superstition so I am not to blame here. Where are you, Sister McKeon? You were so nice. I hope you're doing awesome. And I am wondering if you can help me tame my three-year-old? Get back to me if you're available!

Look at this face.
I love you, Benson. You wild maniac.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Night Chat

It's Sunday night and the kids are in bed (not asleep, but that'll come) and the Double B is asleep, of course, and I'm just feeling lonely, as you sometimes do.
I wasn't really going to blog because I don't have much to add, but I decided you can be my friend and I'll just visit with you.
First, a documentation of sins: I get so frustrated with my kids sometimes and am not nearly as nice or patient as I should be, and then I'm frustrated with myself, then I repent, take the sacrament, and by Sunday night I'm back to crazy and it starts all over again. No one is more annoyed by this then Marie. The two main reasons I lose my cool are the mess and the fighting. I think many parents relate. Unfortunately I have a hair trigger, which I do think is related to my high-strungness, but still. No excuse. It's like logically I know messes/fighting comes with parenthood, emotionally I'm done with it. I do not think I'm the most fit parent. I don't think any organization will be giving me any awards. But honestly, I do love my kids. And I'm blessed with the most forgiving kids in the land, who hopefully will just look back fondly on their wacky Mom.
I'll try again tomorrow.
KJ found out that the honor orchestra took 8 violas and he was number 9. Sooo many kids auditioned! He is not disappointed at all by this, he is just thrilled (and so is his orchestra teacher) that he made it in the top ten. He is excited to try again next year. I'm happy with his attitude.
Olivia is working on another major book report. She always includes some artwork and I love that. The math and science middle school for smarties wants her to come there next year, but she's saying no thanks. She wants to stay with her friends and just take the accelerated classes. I'm fine with that. She is whip smart but still so social and steady. She is not a tortured artist.
Katelyn is whip smart and a little bit of a tortured artist. She has always been my angel that struggles with her confidence and in finding her place. She is so sweet and shy in public that she really struggles to communicate and I think that is a big part of her frustration at home. I would feel the same way if I could not find a way to express myself. She is so good at so many things, tonight I am thinking that maybe we need to find something that she loves that is all her own! She is so precious to me.
Benson continues to be the most hilarious, adorable, crazy guy around. He is ALMOST out of the terribles and Battle Benson is waining. He is talking like a grown up so much of the time. He is almost all the way there -- he will often rephrase what he's said to make it a more complete sentence. It's darn cute. Not too long ago he told me "I love you, Mom" for the first time after I'd told him that I love him. Those are the best milestones! He's still not interested in potty training, though he's gone about 10-12 times when he feels like it. He still loooves his blankie and loooves nursery, and his nursery leaders love him.
The Double B is good. Work is a little crazy right now and the Cubs just lost to the Dodgers in the National League championship, so that's a trial. But he keeps going like the winner he is.
I think about what I'm going to do when Benson goes to school often. I am ner-cited about that.
I went with my friend Debbie last Thursday to Zumba. I LOVE Zumba but haven't been in about seven years! I forgot how much I love to dance. And it totally kicked my bum! We're going to be Zumba partners, so I am very excited about that.
And I'm giving up Diet Coke. Sniff.
That's all for today. Love you, one and all. Thanks for talking to me. I don't feel so lonely now.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

KJ Correspondence

I got this email today from KJ. He is discussing the orchestra Disneyland trip he has to save the money for himself (He wants to use the money he's been saving at the book fair) and luncheon for being student of the month in orchestra (hurray!). I just wanted to document it because it is so HIM. He makes me smile.

"I decided I will not go on the Disneyland trip. They lunch tingey is today the time is on the fridge. I got a cool wand pen at the book fair and the new Magnus Chase book is out already (So this is a must. Christmas or birthday). I might buy this cool Harry Potter key chain wand thing tomorrow with my save money(I won't go on the disney trip).

Sincerely your eldest,

 KJ"

Postscript: Just got back from KJ's luncheon. So proud of that kid I could cry. Mr Truitt told me so many wonderful things about him -- that he is just an outstanding kid and an outstanding student, that kids like KJ are the reason he teaches. And that the sky is the limit for him with the viola, that it is the #1 scholarship instrument and if we get him in lessons he'll be all set. Really just went on and on about the great young man he is. Made me happy and proud.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Feasting

The best antidote I know for my Worst Case Scenario Syndrome. I spent some time tonight reading peaceable things and feeling like maybe I can be still and trust the One who really has it all together (since He sure knows I don't! And I know He doesn't mind that I don't, because He loves me, and He gets it!). I am so thankful for the scriptures. I love their calming influence on me and I love the way they turn me to the Savior. Still working towards that mighty change of heart. Still believing that He can make so much more out of me then I can make  out of myself. 
I believe that He can heal me of all that needs to be healed.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Willy Wonka

Tonight I was asked to speak at our ward Relief Society activity. The theme was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and they asked me to incorporate that theme into my talk.
So I'm going to put my talk on here, because I feel like that would be a good thing. Not that I anticipate ever giving a talk on Charlie again, but I try to listen to those thoughts. Maybe you'll just enjoy it. Either way, here it is:

I have always really identified with Augustus Glute. How, I ask you, can you be presented with a giant chocolate river and not put your grubby little hands in it? I don't know if I could resist!
I was thinking last night about how we all have different struggles but we can all relate to each other.  We're all trying to do our best but we have issues along the way. Maybe you're like me and you're an Augustus.
Maybe you're the kid who struggles with impulse control and falls into the chocolate river and gets stuck in the pipe.
Maybe you're the kid that struggles with being honest and following instructions and you turn into a giant blueberry.
Maybe you're the kid who has a hard time being nice to others and you get declared a bad egg and get sent to the incinerator.
Maybe you're the kid who struggles with selfishness. So you get atomized, miniaturized, and sent home in your mom's purse.
Or maybe you're the kid who is a really great kid but you just have to try that fizzy lifting drink just one time and then you almost get chopped up in a giant ceiling fan.
We're all somewhere in there, hoping for someone like a nice Mr Wonka who will give us the reward, even though we didn't follow all the rules and we don't deserve it. Happily for us, there is someone. And he's so much better and kinder then Willy Wonka, and the reward is so much greater then a lifetime supply of chocolate. It is, of course, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I have been studying the scriptures about the Savior in the topical guide of the Bible since April conference, when the Spirit let me know that was something that I needed to do. It has changed me. He is so much greater, so much kinder, so much bigger and more wonderful then I ever knew.
He understands how much we want to be good, how hard we try, how often we fail -- and why. He understands our sorrow, our joy, our pain, the things we worry about -- and He compensates for it all. He is the PROMISED MESSIAH. As we make and keep our covenants, He fills in the gaps. Think about this quote from Elder Oaks as you take the sacrament this Sunday:

"Because it is broken and torn, each piece of bread is unique, just as the individuals who partake of it are unique. We all have different sins to repent of. We all have different needs to be strengthened through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we remember in this ordinance.”

He WILL strengthen us.
A week or two ago in my personal scripture study I was reading in 3rd Nephi Chapter 11 (Woot! Woot! Everybody's favorite). I noticed something I've never noticed in quite this way before. When the Savior appeared to those gathered in Bountiful, they thought He was an angel. But when He told them who He actually was, they all fell to their knees. They had been told all of their lives that He would come, but here He was. The PROMISED MESSIAH. He said to them:

"14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.
16 And when they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves, they did cry out with one accord, saying:
17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him."

I felt the Spirit witness to me that this was a real event, but I was also taught something else: they went forward as a multitude, but they got to experience their Savior as individuals -- one by one. The atonement is for individuals. We all get to be blessed by it, but it is for each one of us separately. It is for you and it is for me.
When we realize that, when we truly accept it, when we embrace it and let it charge our lives, we can move forward like Elder Rasband suggests (his was my favorite conference talk, so I had to get him in here!):

"What should you be looking for in your own life? What are God’s miracles that remind you that He is close, saying, “I am right here”? Think of those times, some daily, when the Lord has acted in your life—and then acted again. Treasure them as moments the Lord has shown confidence in you and in your choices. But allow Him to make more of you than you can make of yourself on your own. Treasure His involvement. Sometimes we consider changes in our plans as missteps on our journey. Think of them more as first steps to being “on the Lord’s errand.”

He can save us when we are stuck in the tube of the chocolate river. He can press us and relieve the pressure when we've turned ourselves into a giant blueberry. He can help us to change -- and to become a good egg. When we make ourselves small, He can take what is small inside of us and make it mighty and great. He can save us when we are in danger from what would chop us up and destroy us.
All we have to do is choose HIM.

"28 And now, my sons [and daughters], I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit." (2nd Nephi 2:28)

All we have to do is choose.

I have a testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel deep within my heart that He lives and that He so deeply loves us, and that He is truly "mighty to save."