Friday, April 30, 2010

Get rid of rigid thinking or Craft room make over part 1

Jodi and I need a creative fix more often than we are getting it.  We committed to getting together at least once a month to do one of the projects that we always talk about doing but never do.  As we are both on tight budgets, we decided that we would make the next few projects trash to treasure projects.   She politely didn't say anything negative as we looked through the hazardous waste area (currently serving as the craft room) for hidden treasures.    

I pulled everything out 6 months ago in hopes that I would throw away, organize, and decorate.  Lack of inspiration, time, and money dropped me into a deeper and deeper pit.  Looking at all that mess paralyzed me.  I had NO idea what to do.  My mind stubornly stuck to beautiful craft rooms I have seen.  I visualized built in shelving, hanging baskets, stained concrete, etc. etc.  I couldn't touch those knee deep piles till my dream craft room somehow actuallized.

Jodi thought enough was enough.  She saw the way the mess seeped into my head to make me feel bad and messy, even when upstairs in the "clean part."  She anounced that our first project would be to make some headway on that room.  Today she arrived with Zoe and began to fly through my room.  I tried to catch up.  It was my room after all, but she was relentless.  Without stopping to think of ideals, or even asking what I wanted, the cyclone swept things into the garbage, salvaged unused items and anounced we were using them for decoration.

My methodical cells reeled as she rushed, yet I knew that my ways had hurt me for the last 6 months.  I'd try it her way and be grateful if we could clear a  few feet of space.

When she left, four hours later, my outside trash cans were full, and the room was functional.  AMAZING.  We pulled together in that short time a miracle.  "I want you to have enough of a beautiful space that it inspires you to keep going" she said.  That's what we did.  I am just at the beginning of the craft room makeover, and I'm going to document some of my journey, but I hope never to see another before and after picture with such great differences.

We are most proud of the fact that there is NO budget for this organizing and decorating project.  0 dollars.  Everything must come from my stashes and so far has.  The current curtain is fabric waiting to be sewn into skirts for the girls, the lanterns are from my party decoration box, the pictures we created from scrapbook paper, flowers...etc.

I realized something a bit shocking.  I have rigid thinking.  My lack of flexibility has really held me in a sad place.  Yes, people have told me I'm quite rigid but I thought they were crazy, and whatever rigidity I had was a good thing.  My room isn't what I would pick if I could pick each piece, yet it still makes me happy.  I am inspired.  I now feel like cleaning and decorating everything because, after all, It doesn't have to be perfect to bless myself and my family.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Push it to the limit

Little Mother can scrap soccer with kids twice her size.  Her skills are less than perfect but her tenacity, drive, and determination make up for her occasional kick in the wrong direction.  Sure, we like it when she scores a goal, but we cheered the hardest last week when she blocked two goals, injured and limping.  

Each morning as we drive, Briz, the voice of seasoned athletics, coaches on mental toughness.  "Everyone gets tired.  But, your body can always do a little more.  Push to the limit.  Then you know you've given it your all."

I just finished a book on teaching called "Teach like your Hair's on Fire."  To me, it was half inspiration, half onset of depression.  I despaired that my children did not and would not have teachers like Rafe Esquith that inspired them to reach their full potential.  A nagging thought whispered that while they would not get him as a teacher, they did have me as a mother.  Certainly I could try to accomplish in eighteen years what Rafe accomplishes in one school year.  I began listing.  What could I start now that would make the best use of the time I've been given?  

Last night after dinner, I dragged my feet on family home evening.  Briz was out  late.  Trial prep has kept him busy this last week.  Days without my tag team partner have left me wiped out.  I thought I could skip just this once.  What difference would it make if we had it tomorrow?  At least no prep work... maybe a movie.  

Unbidden, I thought that this was time I had... I was lazy.  If I were in a soccer game, I'd be asking for a drink break and a nap.  We tell Little Mother to reach deep. . . there is always more energy.  

We discussed Kohlberg's six levels of moral development then played dominos.   

We aren't reaching nirvana yet, but sunshine pops up.  "I'm doing my dishes for a wewawd.  That's level one thinking.  I can do betto.  I'll do it to make you happy.  That's level 5."  Every moment, every day counts.  Little Mother and her soccer coach would be proud. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Book Review Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado

As a book reviewer for Book Sneeze, I agreed to review Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado.   His writing style can be cheesey, but his insights are unsurpassed.

Facing Your Giants covers lessons learned from David, from youth till death.  I read a chapter a night, a savored each lesson, thrilled at the comparisons and found much to help me at that moment.  How did David face goliath?  And how do I face the giants I confront?  What is the spector that sneaks in my mind as I try to fall asleep?  David saw Goliath but he saw God more.  His thoughts were filled with the Power of God versus the power of his nemesis.  This was the source of his power when he succeeded in life.  In each and every failure, God ceased occupying the prime spot in his thoughts life and love. 

So, for life changing qualities, for thought provoking passages, for insights into the scriptures, this book gets a solid 5 star rating.  It is one of the best inspirational books I've read this year.  Let me know how you like it.  

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The first Sun of the Year

After church I went upstairs to slip into something a little more comfortable.  The bed looked inviting, so I thought I'd lay down for just a minute.  Pyewackit curled up by my nose and I lay listening to the happy noises of children and the occasional squauk.  At some point, the noises subsided and my consciousness reduced to an occasional purr and movement from my bed companion.  When she jumped down, my eyes opened.  Five hours had passed. Evening was well underway.   I found Briz watching nature shows, Ladybug tidying the kitchen, but Little Mother and Sunshine were nowhere to be found.  From an upstairs window I  found my lost sunbathers. While I was sleeping, Briz went to pick up a cast off sofa for our basement.  My little ones decided it was the perfect location for a sun bathing expedition.  Clad in bathing suits, and shaded with ambiance, they gave the neighborhood quite a show.   A passing neighbor helped haul the chair in.  Briz declined his help with the sofa because he was reluctant to disturb the vacationers. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reading Club

Reading transports to new places, other times, and other possibilities.  Reading opens our minds to new ideas and introduces us to friends we haven't met.  With so many distractions available that offer instant gratification, and such awful reading primer assignments, readers are becoming an endangered breed.  I have tried many things to stimulate my reluctant readers (all but Sunshine who came reading passionate).  I've certainly set a good example, I've required the daily reading from school, I've purchased easier readers, I've drilled vocabulary, word families, and blends.  I discovered today that in all Big Brother's assigned rushings, I've left out passion, joy, and fun....

No more.  From now on, we do it my way.  Our book club met at 8:30, enough after bedtime to be a real treat. We gathered around plates of graham toffee and milk, cuddled in blankets and started some real girl talk.

Our rules:  1.You have to read the book in order to attend.  2.  All members are treated with respect.  3.  When mom says book club is over we run, not walk, happily to bed. 

We brainstormed for names but aren't much good at it.  Anyone have any ideas?  The girl's current favorite is The Green Stockings (after the victorian Blue Stockings but with our favorite color).

The Sarah Plain and Tall Books are our current fodder.  We discussed the prairie, the 1800's, homesteading, and our favorite characters.  We drew up a list of unknown words to look up for our word wall.  Coarse, Maine, crisply, homely, slough, wood-stove, pry, exclaimed, moonbeam, and clattering are awaiting dictionary discovery during the coming week.  We imagined, laughed, discussed, and really enjoyed each other.  An added benefit to our meeting was a training session on how to gently blend your comment into the conversation; how to sense whether or not it is your turn, and how not to dominate a conversation.

The girls wanted the club to go on and on, but true to our rules, at one word from me, they disappeared into their bedrooms, each carrying their books. 

Instead of getting a silly score from a standardized test, I want them to answer yes to the following:
1.  Have you ever stayed up all night because you couldn't put a book down?
2.  Have you ever sneaked a peak at an exciting scene at school or during a boring lecture?
3.  Have you ever wondered if your stories were real and wondered if you'd ever meet your favorite friends?
4.  Have you ever cried when the dogs in Red Fern died?

Yeses to these questions will tell me all I need to know about your reading.  My way, I can include my brilliant child with learning disabilities.  My way, I can guide my little ones to books with value, heart, and wonder. 

 I realize it cuts into my sacred husband/private time, so I'll have to make that up elsewhere.    I grow anxious as my time grows short.  So much to do, so little time, such a short time of influence.  If we finish in a week our club will watch Sarah Plain and Tall and see how our imaginations stack against the movie. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Sajjad will fly home tomorrow.  He carries a BYU t-shirt and hat, Utah Truffles, numerous Bath and Body products, Dove Chocolate, a picture of the first presidency, and a Suzuki level one piano book.  He left behind a soccer ball, a coconut, three devoted little sisters, and a bit of his wonder on the world we inhabit.  We opened his eyes to enormous strip mines,fast food ice cream, astronautic, endless galaxies and three dimensional glasses.  He opened our eyes to see a 27 year old pioneer, leading a branch of 272 in a country that has known the restored gospel for eleven years, a 14 hour plane trip to attend the temple, families that overcome choking tobacco habits of 3 packs a day, fiances that travel close to 24 hours by plane to buoy up their  partner, innocence, and courage. 

On two continents, the world has become a bit smaller, and fear has evaporated.,   A piece of us goes to Pakistan, and a bit of Pakistan stays with us.  Perhaps, Obama should burn a chicken for Osama Bin Ladin, and take him to a 3-D movie and watch the enfolding mysteries of the universe together.  Bonding occurs in such experiences.  We are all so much the same. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Supo Beaow

We snipped and glued transforming an ordinary dollar bear into Supo Beaw. 

"Youw awmost wedy to fly.  Now youw cape's wedy.  We'w aways be fwiends.  Don't miss me too much.  Theiws a little boy waiting for you to fly and save him.  We'w see each other again. I hope."

Supo Beaw gets into his box awaiting his next hug from a sick little boy or girl in the hospital.  Sunshine infused him with love and all the powers she could manage.  That's got to count for something.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Morning

I stayed up late preparing for our Sunrise Easter Service.  We woke up to inches of new snow.  A sunrise picnic didn't sound so appealing.  Though disapointed for a moment, our breakfast was amazing.  Not the food or ambiance, but the childrens' questions were memorable.  Sunshine asked the most questions.  "Is it hard to die for other people?  Why did they nail Jesus and only tie the other two?"  We were prepared with a lesson to give with our breakfast rolls, but Sunshine took one bite and said, "I know.  This is the cave where they rolled that big stone.  It is empty today.  No one is in it."
"Ah, yeah.  Why don't you just continue your lesson Sunshine?"
So, she did.

Resurrection Rolls
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Crescent rolls
Melted butter
Large marshmallows

Give each child a triangle of crescent rolls. The crescent roll represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.

Read Matthew 27:57-61

1. Give each child a marshmallow. This represents Jesus.
2. Have him/her dip the marshmallow in melted butter. This represents the oils of embalming.
3. Now dip the buttered marshmallow in the cinnamon and sugar which represents the spices used to anoint the body.
4. Then wrap up the coated marshmallow tightly in the crescent roll (not like a typical crescent roll up, but bring the sides up and seal the marshmallow inside.) This represents the wrapping of Jesus' body after death.
5.  Brush each roll with a bit of milk and sprinkle with sugar. 
6. Place in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. (The oven represents the tomb - pretend like it was three days!)
7. Let the rolls cool slightly. The children can open their rolls (cloth) and discover that Jesus is no longer there, HE IS RISEN!!!! (The marshmallow melts and the crescent roll is puffed up, but empty.)

Now read Matthew 28:5-8

Explain: At the tomb, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary saw an angel, who told them not to be afraid. No one had taken Jesus' body, but He Had risen from the dead! The angel told the women to go and tell the disciples what they had seen, that Jesus had risen from the dead. They were so excited, they ran all the way home to tell the disciples the good news! He is risen from the dead! Alleluia!

After that Jesus appeared in person to Peter, then to the 12 disciples and after that, to more than 500 people. Jesus' appearance to eyewitnesses, those who saw Him with their own eyes, would give support and prove that Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

By rising from the dead, Jesus proved once and for all that He was the Messiah, the Savior of the World, the Chosen One, and the Lamb of God. By dying on the cross and rising from the dead, Jesus did what no other had ever done before. As both God and man, He overcame sin, death, and hell. And now because of what Jesus has done, these things no longer have any power over those who believe in Jesus and allow His Spirit to lead and direct them. Rather than being slaves to sin and death, Christians ( those who love and believe in Jesus) are free to obey God and do good ( Romans 6:17-18). The Bible says in John 8:36, "If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."

However, we will only obey God if we listen to the Holy Ghost our helper. He enables believers in Jesus to do the right thing. It is important that we read the scriptures because one of the ways the Holy Spirit helps us obey God is by reminding us of what He says to us in His Word.  In fact, when we read God's Word, we are listening to the Holy Spirit. Of course, you won't always do the right thing; the Bible says this ) 1 John 1:5-10). But that is why we need to continue to confess our sins knowing that God forgives us, based on what Jesus did on the cross. This is also a reason we need to spend time with other believers in Christ so they can encourage us in our faith.
Hope you all had a blessed and meaningful Easter!

Just when you think they're not Listening

Most of the time, raising children seems to be a slog up hill through opposite racing rapids.  One step forward, two steps back.  It seems that the only things those little eyes and ears remember seeing and hearing are the bad stuff, the bad examples you've set, or the times you've lost your cool.  Therefore, some moments are just priceless. 

Briz and I plugged the radio in outside and weeded for the Saturday sessions of conference.  The youngest two were in St. George, so we didn't push Ladybug to join us.  We went in for a quick drink.  There we found Ladybug, in her reverence tent with the door facing "King Benjamin"as we have done in the past.  She was quietly singing with the choir, "We Thank thee oh God for a Prophet."

HOPE!  Maybe something good we say or do sticks! 

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Some women like men that can curl 200 pounds.
Others really get into poetry.
Even more wish for roses or flowers.
Some long for jewelry.
I know what kind of gal I am.
I caught them red handed.
Briz was teaching Ladybug the finer techniques of blow drying her hair.
How to get more lift and a bit of curl.
Considering the state of his own head, that is quite a skill.
That is so hot.
I'm hopelessly gone.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Free Night!

An entire afternoon to myself.  What should I do?  The basement?  The craft room?  Write?  Go out with a friend?  Have my eyebrows waxed?  What is most important?  

I settle on Briz. 

It's been years, years, and years since we've had a night alone.  I fill my hours with special times for the family as a whole, but not since the children have joined our lives have I given my time and preparations for him.  

3:00 p.m. --Happily, I go to the store.  I comb through recipe books to find a spectacular meal.  I plan decorations.  I burn some of my precious music edges for ambiance.  I vacume, dust, put away childrens' clutter.  I snip and glue, then spend an hour coming up with the perfect meaningful message for my home made card.  It takes three tries on the caramel rum sauce before I get one that isn't scorched.  

As it gets later and later I prepare ambiance in the bedroom.  I play romantic music from Chris Botti. . . . .then romantic love songs. . . . . then Carpenter's Love Songs.  I make a special coconut lime drink.  It gets later and later.  My hypoglycemia is rearing.  I'm going to be sick.

8:37 p.m.  phone rings.  He cannot get away from an operation.  I should go ahead and eat without him.  "No worries."  I say.  I blow out the candles,  pull out leftovers from the fridge and plop them on a plastic plate.  My body aches from the rush of activity and lack of food.  

I giggle.  I wish I had someone with which to share my funny evening.  I laugh for three reasons.  Number one, it's been years since I've been stood up like this.  It's rather youth giving.   Number two, it seems an odd way to spend my precious night alone.  Number three, I realize that though I did not romanticly fill my husband's cup, I filled my own.  I spent five to six hours focused on my husband- I thought of my feelings for him, of his pleasure at all my preparations, of all the questions that have gone unasked the past 12 years, of all the service that he deserves from my hand.  

Other than the sugar low, I feel happy.  I served my sweetie.  No, he doesn't know about it.  No, he did not benefit, but I did. 

April Fools

I'm free!!!  I'm free!!!

Well sort of.  Ladybug flew away Wednesday for an island snorkeling, quid eating marine biology adventure. She left love tokens, gifts, and gum in her bedroom for us to find.

Auntie Teri volenteered to take the other two for a sun filled extended family vacation.  They left this morning.  Due to time constraints, as we raced to eat our breakfast, I overturned their table and served them purple (blueberry) smoothies and cookies (healthy breakfast cookies).  A bit weak I know, but it was a nod to April Fools Day. 

I returned from my music classes to find my machine blinking.  I played the message as I composed my grocery list.  Screaming and crying burst from the machine.  "I know that sound."  I thought.

"Russ and Holly, your girls are NOT doing well.  They are just out of control.  I am turning around.  I'm just going to have to bring them home."

Teri's voice wavered.  She was mad.  She was at the end of her rope.  The kids were out of control.  I heard them.  What could they be doing?  What could they be thinking to disturb Teri and McKell that way.  They've been counting down, dreaming, talking of this moment.  How could they behave so badly.  Now they were going to lose their fun time and of secondary importance, I was going to lose my happy making break.

I checked the time on the message, then the time on the clock.  If they turned around at 12:35, they should have been here a half hour ago.  She must have decided to grit her teeth and bear it.  Perhaps she just called to trick the kids into behaving.  Well, we can't have that.

I called Briz.  "You've got to call Teri right away.  Our kids are flipping out and she is NOT happy.  You need to lay down the law right now."  "Why don't you want to call?"  He asked.  "I already laid down the law and the consequences before they left.  I need super power on this one."

One minute later, my phone rang again.  How could he have solved the situation so quickly.  I hope he pacified Teri.  I'm so dissapointed in my little ones.  "Midodi, you can relax.  It was an elaborately staged April Fools joke."  I'm completely confused.  She must be trying to make Briz feel better.   "You can call her back if it makes you feel better."

After some talking with Teri and some time to wind down, I get it.  April Fools.  Really.  On me this time.
No overturned tables or purple drinks for me.  I get the real deal.  And my kids were in on it too.  HOW DARE THEY!!!!  Really, I feel secretly clever.  Someone remembered me.  They rehearsed for me.  They gave me a real scare.  I'm quite happy.