Monday, January 26, 2015

8 Is Great!

Olivia was baptized!
Her big day was on January 17th. My parents so graciously flew out from Utah, and Burdette and Holly came from Nebraska, so we were so lucky to have family  It was the MOST SPECIAL day! Honestly. The feelings of my heart were just so full and grateful.
Olivia is the most special girl. There is truly something radiant about her. In many ways it was a profound experience for me, because she was SO prepared. She knew and understood exactly what she was doing and deeply wanted to make that covenant with Heavenly Father. It was truly HER decision, but more then that, it was her yearning desire. That was so beautiful for me to observe!
She was so full of anticipation and jitters. She shared her day with a boy named Carter, who's family is from Missouri, so it was a full house. Watching her step into that little font with her Daddy and her big eyes observing all the people was so sweet. Grandpa and Brother Matt were her witnesses. She asked Grandma to give a prayer and Sister Bev to give the talk on baptism. We had a little luncheon afterwards and everyone had a great time.
I am so thankful for this beautiful little girl and how she fills my heart! I am so thankful to be able to teach her faith in Jesus Christ. It is one of the great honors of my life!
She is lucky to have such a wonderful Grandma and Grandpa. We had such a fun few days with them! They were so proud of her and she felt so special. She sobbed the whole way home from the airport the night they flew home!
What a great day. I am so thankful to be a Mom! I am so thankful for a personal witness that God loves His children.

Friday, January 23, 2015

On Modesty

This is what I want my daughters to know about modesty:

Be modest because of your relationship with God. If you feel you are respecting your body with the way you are dressed and the way you are moving your body, hooray! You're on the right course. You will feel it, and feel free to listen to those feelings. 

Every person determines what is modest for themselves. That means you get to determine for yourself, too. Awesome! Be wise. Be kind. Don't judge yourself harshly. And for the love of all things good, don't judge others harshly. They might not understand the things you understand.

Your body is AMAZING! It is an incredible machine that gives you the ability to do many things. Don't be down on your body. Be kind to it. Embrace it's unique shape. Understand that if you have the amazing gift of giving birth, your body will change and that is awesome, too. Embrace that. Just love this thing and take care of it!

Society will tell you that you have to dress a certain way or look a certain way. Tell them to shove it where the sun don't shine. My girls know better then that.

History will tell you that society would teach a woman her body is evil because men have sometimes used it as an excuse for their own sinful behavior. Please. Your body is NOTHING to be ashamed of. As previously mentioned, it is AWESOME! Love the unique look that is yours as a woman. It is not evil. It is made in the image of your Father in Heaven, so I'm pretty sure that means it is glorious. So don't listen to that load of poo. There is nothing about a woman's body that should ever cause you shame. Love the soft and feminine that is you. Being a woman rocks.

Some people might try to tell you that you are somehow responsible for men's thoughts. That is the biggest pile of "make Mom mad" ever. Don't dress in a self-respecting way because you're responsible for someone else's thoughts -- that's what they have agency for. Dress in a  self-respecting way because you have self respect. Dress in a self-respecting way because you love God and want to honor the gift He gave you. And also, it doesn't hurt to be your brother's keeper and acknowledge that yeah, it helps guys when you dress nice, so that's a pretty nice thing to do. But don't do it for them! Phewy. Do it for you. You, my sweet daughter. How I love you!


This is what I want my sons to know about modesty:

Be modest because of your relationship with God. If you feel you are respecting your body with the way you are dressed and the way you are moving your body, hooray! You're on the right course. You will feel it, and feel free to listen to those feelings. 

Every person determines what is modest for themselves. That means you get to determine for yourself, too. Awesome! Be wise. Be kind. Don't judge yourself harshly. And for the love of all things good, don't judge others harshly. They might not understand the things you understand.

Your body is AMAZING! It is an incredible machine that gives you the ability to do many things. Don't be down on your body. Be kind to it. Embrace it's unique shape. Understand that you must use your strength wisely. Always for good and never for evil. Never to coerce or to force, only to uplift and build. Your body will ebb and flow, be gentle with yourself and with others. Love that thing and take good care of it!

Society will tell you that you have to dress a certain way or look a certain way. Tell them to shove it where the sun don't shine. My boys know better then that! Society will tell you that girls have to look a certain way, or should be looked at just for their bodies. Pa-chaw! Fight that idea like a lion. My sons are smarter then that.

History will tell you that society would teach a woman her body is evil because men have sometimes used it as an excuse for their own sinful behavior. Please. You know that is a lie! You know you are accountable for yourself!  Love the unique look that is a woman, and love the unique look you have as a man. There is nothing shameful about our bodies -- don't listen to that load of poo. RESPECT the soft and the feminine, as you would hope you would be respected for the masculine that is in you.

Some people might try to tell you that women are somehow responsible for men's thoughts. That is the biggest pile of "make Mom mad" ever. Be bigger then that. Take responsibility for yourself! Be the ultimate gentleman. Look at a woman as the whole person she is. I know you will! Dress in a self-respecting way because you respect yourself, because you love God and want to honor the gift He gave you. How I love you!


What I want my kids to know:
You are the master of your own fate. You are the captain of your own soul. God sent you here with your agency. Use it! Use it to honor womanhood and to honor manhood, to look not just on the outward appearance, but on the heart. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December, And The End Of An Age

This is a sight you would see a lot at our house:
Liv, #1 Helper, keeping Benson entertained so Mom can try to accomplish SOMETHING. She is his kindest buddy, and he loves and trusts her so, so much. Even though he is now about half her size! He just adores his big sister, for good reason. 
So I will have to summarize, as life has taken hold with this baby that demands a lot, and things that I love, including this little family record, have temporarily fallen by the wayside. I am hoping that things will settle and he will continue to gain a schedule, and I can pick back up here. Because I do love this little record. And I miss the outlet that honest writing is for me. I think that is part of the problem I've had with writing. I forgot that I can be an HONEST writer. If things are difficult/uneven/or I'm failing miserably, I am happier if I'm just upfront about it and I know you are still my friends. I'm listening to an awesome book right now called Falling To Heaven, and the author, James L. Ferrell, talks about living a "confessing" life. Not pretending you're not a total wreck. So, I like that. 
I'm a total wreck. Just so you know!
Here's a beautiful picture of my beautiful baby:
Remember how the first few months of new baby the transition didn't seem too difficult? And then about the three month mark hit, and things totally swan-dived. Hard core. Blew up. Exploded. Bits of shrapnel everywhere! He became a "hard" baby. That's not his fault, bless his heart. He just needs a lot of attention, and he needs it his way. And sleeping was a no-go. Every night became a nightmare. If I got up with him six times, it was a good night. And then it started to become like every 45 minutes, and he wouldn't go back down without walking him. I don't know about you, but I have never been that sleep deprived. I know why they use it as a torture device. I was NOT myself. Like PMS on steroids. PMS on speed. I simply could not think in a manner helpful for anyone. I really wasn't safe anymore, and I was afraid I was just going to start driving west and keep driving. Praise God, just at that moment, a book I'd had recommended by a friend FINALLY became available at the library. Called On Becoming Baby Wise, it has totally saved two lives -- mine, and Benson's. It helped me see that I wasn't a failure as a mother, that just because this was my fourth child didn't mean I should have it all figured out, and then it figured it out for me. I didn't realize that by trying to solve the problem I'd made it so much worse. I'd created an attachment parenting relationship, which was working for NO ONE. That made setting up his schedule a little harder, but thankfully, I was at the point of exhaustion that hearing him cry for awhile didn't torture me as much, because I knew I was helping him. Babies have to know how to sleep. Such a blessing! We are still working on nap time, but nights are a world of difference. By the third day we were on a different planet, and last night he went to bed at 7, I woke him up to eat at 10, he fussed and self soothed at 4, and then woke up happy for the day at 8. In the morning. My fitness band tells me I got NINE HOURS OF SLEEP. It's amazing!!! Every parent needs this book. I wish I'd had it at #1 (although I wasn't probably experienced enough yet to know that babies sometimes need to cry, so it might not have been as useful)! I can't tell you how much different I feel. How much SANER I feel! He's still a demanding baby, and I'm still tired most of the time (might take awhile to get back from that), but we can do this. God saved me and sent me that book. I'm not kidding. If you have a baby, read it. Read it now! The best part is, Benson feels so much better, too. It's very obvious. And it has actually made our relationship stronger. When I hold him, he cuddles me. HE cuddles, wraps his arm around my arm, nuzzles my neck, leans. It is so sweet. We are so much better for it! I am so thankful God gave me that little boy, and we're stronger through this experience. 

Here's my big boy, at his first orchestra concert! I was so proud of him, he did a great job. So far he loves his viola and wants to keep playing. Olivia has said she'd also like to play the viola, and he was quite touched. "Aaah, she wants to be like me?! So cute!"
Katelyn loves to play with Bens. Her favorite line to use is "Oh yes you are! Oh yes you are!" in her high, high baby voice. He loves when she plays and is somehow undisturbed by her three inch personal bubble. She has a bit of a hard time sharing him, and will sometimes push brother and sister out of the way when they try to play with him, ha ha. She is a pill, which I know means she is a natural born leader, and we try to teach her the right way to live so she can use her powers for good (and not evil).
Here's Livi Lucy, talking about "Ryan." He is a very thrilling topic!
We had the amazing fortune of inheriting Grandma B's beautiful hand-painted Christmas village this year. The kids were so, so thrilled to set it up! They designed the town layout and put it up themselves. It is a family treasure, and fun to start a new tradition.
While I was sleep training Benson, the kids slept downstairs so their sleep wouldn't be interrupted (up to that point he's slept in our room) by their baby brother. Kate said it didn't bother her, and wanted to sleep upstairs with Mom. It was really cute, we'd snuggle, I'd play with her hair, and two seconds later she'd be sound asleep. Darling. She loves her ears played with, too, which is my own personal favorite thing. She's a good cuddle buddy. A heater, too. And a tosser and turner. I gained new appreciation for her bedfellow, Olivia!
Look at the sweet cuddles Benson gives me now. So cute.
In another December adventure, I had the misfortune of having mastitis. It is as truly awful as anyone has ever told you. I was fine one Saturday morning, had a headache, nothing unusual. Took the kids to the library and started to feel a little different, so we rounded up and headed home. I stopped to get them a cheeseburger because I knew I wasn't quite right, and started to feel freezing in the drive through line. By the time we got home five minutes later, I was convulsing from the cold. I fed Benson as best I could and put the kids in charge of him to get in the hot bath. They knew something was really wrong and were such great helpers! Thankfully the Double B got home early, and by the time I headed downstairs, still shaking, with three heating pads, sweats, coat, etc, he was pretty shocked. Got in bed and shook and had very intense muscle aches and spasms for HOURS. My leg muscles could not hold still. I have never been in so much misery. Honestly. I have never been that sick, ever. About four in the morning, my sweetheart went and bought me an electric blanket, and that is the first relief I'd had in about 16 hours. I finally fell asleep for an hour at about six in the morning. I spent four days in bed, two as miserable as I'd ever been, two just bed-ridden sick. It was eye-opening! Not to mention, my chest was so tender and painful. I almost lost my milk, had basically nothing for a couple of days, but thankfully it has come back. Not full strength, but that is okay because we'd decided a few days before to start supplementing Benson a little to hopefully help me a little mentally with post-partum. But I do love nursing him, and it's been my first positive experience nursing, so I don't want to give it up yet! Too much information? Possibly. Still happened, though.

KJ and Olivia decided they liked the look of the 80's and created their own cool hairstyles. KJ has the perfect poofy hair for it. I think he looks a lot like my brother Jon in this picture. And he was definitely an 80's kid! I could have only dreamed of having hair as styling as Olivia's...
Here's my little helper this morning. "I'll take Benson for you!" He's five months old now and she'll be eight years old in twelve days. And he's half her size! I think it's safe to say he will outgrow her. Love my kids!
A few funnies:

This morning Olivia reassured me that she needs to grow up so I can be a Grandma. Then she said "Don't worry. I'll never stop using my blanky. And if my husband tries to make me stop, I'll kick him! And throw him out of the house for an hour!"

While watching the movie "The Nativity Story", Olivia says "It's just so cool in the movies. They always add a random chicken!"

The other day Katelyn tooted and I said "what do you say?" She smiled and bellowed "Excuuuuse Myyyy Buuuum!" Nice. 

Well, it's the end of another year. I used to hate New Year's Eve, because I would feel so uncertain about what was coming in the next year. But it doesn't bother me now. We'll spend the evening with the Tate's and I doubt any of us will even make it to midnight! I guess it's just a good opportunity to look back on the blessings of the past year. I hope this coming year is a good one. I hope it gets us where we want to be. I hope we can trust the Lord and keep the commandments. I hope that I can keep striving to be better. I hope my children are healthy and happy.
And as for 2014 -- it was a good one. It was a hard one. Full of many trials and many more blessings. When I'm an old lady I'll say "This is the year where I faced my fears."
And that's a pretty big deal.

Christmas Eve

Another happy Christmas for the record books! It was quiet, but magical. I love seeing holidays through the eyes of my kids. It makes everything so much richer. Daddy worked the overnights the week before Christmas, so we had fun on Christmas Eve staying quiet and documenting the festivities:
Best breakfast photo bomb ever!
Is it just me, or does this movie get funnier and funnier every year? I think I was cracking up even more then the kids!
This year we tracked Santa through NORAD. And it was totally awesome! We had a really fun time checking where he was at throughout the day. The only trouble is that Katelyn has wanted to track him ever since. She just doesn't really believe he is just at home in the North Pole. And she REALLY didn't think he needed sleep and to rest up after such a busy night! Made absolutely no sense to her. I asked KJ and Liv to watch out for Benson while I showered, and this is what I came back to. Hilarious. I guess Santa tracking wasn't quite as riveting for him.
The kids chose Olive Garden as our Christmas Eve restaurant. We had a nice time! KJ has to order off the adult menu now, and if you don't think that is the GREATEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO HIM. My wallet is sad, but he is happy! He is such a brave missionary, too, wearing my Team Book of Mormon hoodie all around town.Go, KJ.
I like this picture. Poor Double B. He just can't fake it. When I saw it, I laughed and laughed! The grandchildren will wonder if Grandpa was just really unhappy being a part of our family? No, kiddies, Grandpa just can't fake a smile. He is a little grumpy, yes. Grouchy? Occasionally. Should we keep him around? Yes. Just don't ask him to smile in your pictures.
KJ's pizza. It was huge! He was so thrilled. He named it Athena's pizza because of the olive's, and then we had a history lesson about the ancient city of Athen's and it's olive trees. This kid is all Greek mythology, all the time.
Pretty Olivia and her spaghetti with meat sauce. She loves the bread sticks, and asks for croutons out of the salad. She particularly enjoyed her strawberry lemonade.
Katelyn's poor picture got erased on this here record, but she was so cute. She drank her weight in chocolate milk and then wondered why her tummy didn't feel so good. Classic Kate!
Benson had a nice nap but was happy to join us when he woke up.
New Christmas jammies from Grandma and Grandpa. My kids. I like them.
Benson seriously studying his new toy. It takes a lot of concentration! And Santa's milk and cookies in the background, with a beautiful little card Olivia made for him.
We had many wonderful presents and lots of fun Christmas day. We drove to Costco in the morning so Daddy could check the warehouse (he drew the short end of the stick again), and then came home for breakfast. Daddy got sick, the rest of us spent the evening with the Tates, and then when we came home Daddy started throwing up, and Katelyn joined him. Just for fun. Bless their hearts! KJ ran out of the room as fast as he could while Livi held the bowl and held back hair. Only one of them has the possibility of a career in medicine!
Thankful for many blessings. And I really do want world peace.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Starring Olivia

Olivia had her music concert last night. She was honestly ADORABLE. My heart melted into a big fat puddle of goo. She knew every word, every action, and gave it her all. Bliss!
In other news, the Double B and I have discovered the most important thing to happen to us in recent days -- a little restaurant/ice cream joint named "Culver's." Think Dairy Queen, but better. Much, much better. And it's right in the triangle where we do most of our stuff, so I don't know how we missed it. It's like a little piece of happiness to celebrate two years of full on survival, Mid-west Style. We took the kids there last night to celebrate Liv's hard work. There was a lady there TALKING ON HER PHONE AT ABOUT THIS NOISE LEVEL.
Very interesting.
Yep! Two years! We made it two whole years.
So that's weird.
Benson and I have gotten a little more sleep the last two nights and so neither of us are looking for a step-stool to jump off of quite as much as we were. He only ate twice and I only had to get up with him five times total. Progress! As the Wonder Pet's once said "What's gonna work? TEAM WORK!" I miss the Wonder Pet's. Could be my favorite of the various children's programming I have ingested the last eleven years.
Let's do this, Benson. LET'S CONQUER SLEEP!
I think I am feeling the caps lock today. I love you, caps lock. You never let me down.
I just wanted to share these adorable, truly precious diary entries Olivia made on our airplane flight. She specifically asked for a little diary to document her feelings, and here they are. She won't mind that I shared. Prepare for your heart to melt. The end.

Dear Diary,
Tonight me and my family are going on an airplane to Utah. It's getting loud! Which means that me and my little sister Katelyn and my big brother KJ won't have school tomorrow. Which is pretty good because me and my brother don't like our schools. Because PE! Is boring!
Love, Olivia

Dear Diary,
I can not keep it a secret anymore. Ok, ok, ok I have to tell you that I have a crush on a cute boy named Ryan and he's my neighbor in my neighborhood. And I think he has a crush on me but if he does he doesn't want to show it!
Love, Olivia
PS Do not say what I just told you!

Dear Dairy,
We finally are flying. Everything is so teeny tiny. The lights are beautiful. I wish my Grandma and Grandpa were here!
Love, Olivia.

You're welcome, world! I have done you a great service bringing that girl to you.

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's The Hap-Happiest Season Of All

 One of the great joys of childhood -- throwing leaves into the air:
They're all gone now, of course. We're back into our fabulous six month winter here in KC! That's right, folks. Six months. Just try to tell me anything different!
Things are just trucking on, trucking on. I have been treading water since getting back from Utah trying to get back on top of things and trying to sneak in any little sleep I can (which is not very much. Moms of babies, unite!)
The older kids are doing great in school and continue to be a big help.
Here are KJ and Olivia reading Benson some jokes (jokes are the very air we breathe around these parts. I can not believe how many Olivia retains!): 
I'm sure he found them very amusing.
I held the Double B off until November 19th to put up the Christmas tree -- which was a pretty good effort on my part! I like the tree, and all, but there IS a little thing I like to call Thanksgiving. So we compromise and have a Christmas tree surrounded by Thanksgiving decorations. And that totally works for us!
The kids love, love, love to help their Daddy set it up. Here they are testing the star. I have weird children. 
You may be thinking to yourself "Self, why does Katelyn not appear to be wearing any pants?" And the answer to that would be, Katelyn simply does not stay dressed for any occasion. She is a serial nudist. We're just excited she embraces the need for underwear now! That took us years to accomplish that feat.
Thanksgiving came. I love Thanksgiving. It is really climbing up the ranks of Marie Favorite Holidays. The Double B took pity on my poor miserable soul and actually made MOST of the food for our feast! (Side story: I had tweaked my jaw on a Starburst I'd "borrowed" from the primary closet on Sunday and had been miserable ever since -- a jaw that throbbed and wouldn't shut right and a stellar headache. In my sleep deprived state of mind, I had diagnosed myself with many tragic diseases that obviously meant death was imminent, but I am getting better, so apparently I'm NOT dying and the Lord just feels super serious about the primary birthday treats. I shall never sneak a stray Starburst again! Okay, back to the story.) So that was super romantic, and he did a great job, too. He is so good at letting the kids help him in the kitchen, and Olivia loves nothing more then being his sous chef. This year she made the ham rolls! She did awesome. I had a great internal battle about whether to rearrange her placing of the ham rolls so it would look fancy, but then I decided to just let her do her thing. Presentation is pretty important, so this one was a nail biter for me! I'm glad I let her make it her own way of beautiful.
The Double B's favorite nephew and his cute family moved to Nebraska a few months ago, and they came down to spend the holiday with us. We were so glad they did! We had a marvelous time building Legos and laughing and eating. It is amazing what a difference it makes to have family on holidays. It just makes everything BETTER. We loved, loved having them! 
They have a little baby just a month younger then Benson, and they were cute together. This is hilarious -- while laying next to each other, Bens got a hold of little buddy's hand and just started chomping away on it! He loves to suck on things and chew, and apparently his friends hand was even better then his! Baby E totally didn't mind, too, which I thought was funny. It was just danged cute. 
I am so thankful we had them with us. It made all the difference in the world. The kids wanted to try Black Friday again, so I took them out for a couple hours Friday night, which they loved. They just want to be part of it, which I think is cute. Black Friday makes me really, really homesick for my Mom. I was probably feeling a longing for home more on Friday then on Thursday, ha ha! I am thankful that I have a great Mom and a great family to miss! 
Friday night I'd laid Benson on the ground to go grab a diaper after putting kids to bed, and when I came back up, he was on his tummy! I couldn't figure that out, since he hasn't seemed super close to rolling. But Katelyn was up and about in the kitchen, so I figure she had helped him. She was VERY sure she did NOT help him, so I just tucked that away to keep an eye out for and reminded myself not to leave him on the bed or anything anymore. Then, Saturday night, after games with the Tates, he rolled over during scriptures! Like he'd been doing it for ages and it was totally no big deal. He did it several more times, and it was so fun for all of us to see him do it and for the kids to cheer him on! I got a cute little video of it and lots of pictures of his second official rollover. What a guy.
Benson is giving me a run for my money. He went from being a pretty easy baby to a pretty hard baby -- not sure what flipped the switch. He is happy if he has your undivided attention, but is very fussy most of the time. He has also become a terrible sleeper. Last night I got about three hours of sleep total -- all deeply interrupted, a few minutes at a time -- and that is not uncommon. It's pretty much killing me. Ugh. He is doing a very, very convincing job of convincing me that he is our last child, ha ha! The Lord is going to have to intervene if He wants something different. Exhausting. My ability to cope is just way lower then normal. Waah! Poor Marie. I never knew I could feel such love and affection for sleep. So thank you, Benson. You have taught me to love the very idea of something I've never day dreamed about before! I've even dreamed a few times that I'm sleeping. In my dream.
I should be analyzed.
These are the moments where I really, really miss "Grandpa". If I don't get to live close to my parents again one day, I'm gonna be mad. But it sure would be convenient if we lived close to them now! :) Then I could just say "Gee, Dad, I think he just really needs you to work your magic on him!" Then I might drop the news "Be back in a week." Or something along those lines.
In conclusion, he's our baby boy so we love him even if he's a pill. He's a cutie and very squishy. At his four month check-up, he was 19 pounds and 26 inches! He is in the 97th percentile for weight, the 98th percentile for height, and the 99th percentile for his head, ha ha!
Katelyn has made it her life mission to fill my phone with selfies. I love them. All. Seems like there is a gem or two waiting for me every night!
Life is good. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Becoming Brave

Guys.
I'm alive.
I get to keep my Beatles CD's after all! But still. They say a will is really important and stuff. So at least we know we've got the important things covered (for the next time I fly in an airplane and all).
The trip was a raging success. We had so much fun and a truly magical time at Dad B's 90th birthday party. We are both so thankful that we got to be there for that. It was magical.
Benson had his first Halloween. Cutest pumpkin ever. KJ was Percy Jackson, Olivia was an angel, and Katelyn was a kitty cat. Busy night trying to juggle two families, but fun.  
Basically the whole week was our little family trying to be two places at once. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we failed. Either way, we tried.
Katelyn took it upon herself to be Benson's right hand woman. She is getting so kind and sweet with him, and he truly finds her comforting. I love that. 
Sneaking in as many snuggles as we can get! 
I got to meet my beautiful niece, Bianca Marie * yes, she will get extra candy from me for the rest of her natural life! She is so beautiful, and it was so fun to bring the two tiny cousins together. Benson is about six weeks older and six times bigger. She is very feminine and petite, he is very masculine and big. 
 
One of my very favorites: 
I love this picture of my two Double B's and Grandpa. We are so lucky to have the parents we do. Even when we visit home, we don't really get enough time with them, but we love the time we do have and are thankful for it! 
My sweet boy turned 11. ELEVEN!!! I do not endorse this decision. I had a great time teasing him about having to stay ten, because he'd just get so worked up about it. I love this gentle soul. So. Much. He loved having his birthday with family in Utah! And late that night we drove down to Las Vegas and arrived home at 6:45 in the morning, central time. Phew! 
 
Flying was hard. I'm not going to pretend it wasn't. The flight to Utah was the smoothest ride the Double B says he has ever had. The ride back to Missouri was the roughest he's ever had. The turbulence was pretty intense and scared the poop out of me! Thankfully, I'd put another Xanax in my pocket and have never swallowed anything so fast, ha ha! I was so thankful for it, because it enabled me to help KJ, when before I took it I could not. Before that, it took everything in my power to not have a gigantic freak out. But it gave me clarity and I could then feel his tiny tears of fear dripping on my arm and could come back to myself -- we prayed, spoke the words to his favorite hymn "I Stand All Amazed," talked about our faith that the Lord could help us, and eventually were able to play a little Tetris... a game that will probably be in Heaven. I have talked it out with the Double B and I work it out a lot with myself, making sure it stays clear for what it was and doesn't build into something it wasn't. I WILL fly in an airplane again -- many times, in fact. As my brother Matt so wisely told me... you don't have to like everything you need to do.
I refuse to let the things I am afraid of stop me anymore.
But here is what is interesting. I have realized that I am getting less and less afraid.
I had some personal revelation on this trip, I guess you could say. I am learning something -- and that is that the Lord is a lot less interested in Marie being comfortable as in Marie becoming what I need to be. This transformation has been going on for years now -- and I guess will keep going for as long as it takes. As BB and I were talking on the couch the other night and I shared this discovery, he pointed out that really, it began in earnest when I became Young Women's president when I was 25. Which is true, really, that is the age when I took my weakness -- my fear and anxiety -- before the Lord and asked Him to help make my weak thing strong. He is doing it. He is working a mighty miracle in me. There has been great spiritual growth and nourishment, slow growth and fast growth. He seems to have been intent on throwing me far out -- completely out -- of my comfort zone and is helping me thrive here, out dangling on a branch. The tree is safe. But out here where the wind can blow me, I'm becoming something different. My mind is a different place. The things I was reliant on -- even the presence of my family -- was removed. My parents and siblings and friends states away and my husband working 60-plus hours a week and asleep when he's home. The two biggest terrors of my life, that I would do practically anything to avoid -- doctors and airplanes -- well, I won't avoid them now. I pretty much had a year of therapy growing Benson and then -- yep -- He put me on an airplane. Which I planned to avoid permanently. And I didn't die. It was hard, but it wasn't so terrible. I am overcoming my fears. And it is Him helping me do it. As soon as we landed, my first thought was "Lord, the glory is all yours" because I did not do that myself. The only credit I get for it is that I believed that He could get me through it. I'm not even afraid of tornadoes anymore, people! I am comfortable in my own skin. With my own company. I am gaining greater power to redirect my thoughts when my imagination goes wild. And I'm even reaching out and making ties here. That's right, folks. Even went to a little lunch get together today. I think maybe He thinks it's just time to move on and leave my debilitating fears behind me -- to become MORE -- and is rather forcefully helping me do that. I'm getting closer to becoming whole. HE IS MAKING MY WEAK THING STRONG. We're making progress. I don't think I knew what I was really asking when I said that prayer. I really don't. But I'm here.
 
When we woke up early Saturday afternoon in our own bed, the Double B looked at me and said "Thank you for being so brave."
 
I knew he meant it and that those words came from his heart. And I took those words into my heart. Because I was brave. And you know what? I've been brave for a long time.
And it feels pretty good.