Thursday, October 26, 2006

Another cute conversation with Ben

So this week is the Just Say NO to Drugs week. Today they have a march around the school property to chant Just Say NO to Drugs and carry posters they made. My son Ben, age 6, made his poster to say:
Just Say NO to Drugs, Alcohol, and Caffeine!
(This just after he overheard Kyle tell me about a new member kid at church who said he couldn't go do baptisms because he drank Coke. Branch President explained that the Prophet encouraged not drinking it, but it wouldn't keep him from the temple.)

I told Ben that most kids at his school (including the LDS kids) probably don't have that rule at their house. "Well", said he, "then it's a good thing I put it on my poster!"

I love that kid!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More dreams

So, in my scrapbook, I have a page listing three goals I had in life: buying a home, eating at Melting Pot, and staying at Anniversary Inn. Well, those are fulfilled. (And don't forget riding on an elephant, of course.) Something else I wished for as a child was to have a child born in the year 2000. I figured that by age 26, that wasn't too much to ask for. Luckily I got married in 1998 and we were blessed with our first child in that first week of 2000. You wouldn't believe how busy that hospital was. I think everyone wanted to have the milennial baby. We didn't plan on that specifically, but once we knew our due date, the concept seemed fun. Didn't happen. That's ok.

I realize, though, that these goals, although fun and good, don't really touch on me. My personal goals for accomplishment or learning. What DO I want to do or become? Right now I am trying to focus on my roles as wife and mother. I don't think I would be satisfied in whatever I tried to do unless I was satisfied with who I am with my husband and my children. In the meantime, I am trying to figure out what else matters most to me. Gardening? I'm not so good at that. I'd like to keep the plants alive, but I don't plan on keeping a farm. Family History? Well, I am getting more caught up on my photo preservation (scrapbooking). This is also a creative outlet for me. I would love to extend my creativity to decorating my home...but I am clueless about choosing colors and trim. I think our friend Vanessa needs to come help me with that. She lives in California, but maybe we can convice her she needs a vacation. (To Oklahoma??) Writing? Between this blog and my scrapbooks, I am progressing on that one.

I have thought that getting published sounds like something I might want to do someday. But on what topic and in what forum, that is yet to be discovered. I have thought about three ideas: weekly public interest columns (but again, this blog serves that purpose without having a deadline!), religious non-fiction, or children's picture books. Problem there being I am not an artist. Again, I have a friend, Susannah, who is. I'll have to contact her about that someday. And Kimber Dawn was an english major and working in publishing. I guess she would be another good friend to have for this one. But for now, it is blogging and journaling in my scrapbooks.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This morning in my scripture reading, I read from the Book of Mormon. It told of a man, Nehor, who went about preaching and building himself up. To get the support of the people, he appealed to their carnal man. He told them what Satan told people in the councils in heaven to gain their approval: God loves all of you and doesn't want anyone to be left out. Everyone can be saved, so don't worry about those people who tell you to be good and repent. In the scriptures, he said they "need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men and had also redeemed all men; and in the end, all men should have eternal life."

At first, these words sound appealing. Of course the Lord loves all of us. Of course he wants us all to have eternal life and all be saved. This much is true. The false teaching in all of this comes when he teaches that all men WILL be saved. The beauty of this life is that we were all given the power to choose for ourselves. Imagine how different life would be if we had no power to choose--there would be no point really in coming to earth if everything were already decided for us. We would be robots. This life is the time for us to prepare to meet God. To live in the presence of God after we die, we can't be sinners, liars, murderers, adulterers, or thieves. We must be striving to become like Him and be humble and penitent before Him.

When I read this passage this morning, I felt like I needed to explain this concept so I could remember it and understand it. Nehor, the antichrist, was appealing to the natural man. Of course his concepts sounded (mostly) right to people and the concept that they were ok as they were and didn't need to change sounded so easy and appealing. But the Lord's plan wasn't meant to be easy. When we understand the fact that He wants us to learn and grow and become our best selves, this then appeals to our spirits and we can feel so much more the joy that comes through living the gospel. The whole "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die" mentality gives a false sense of happiness. Short term thrills fall short of giving us everlasting happiness.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. The rewards are far greater!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I can now check one goal off my list. Riding an elephant. I felt like a kid!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The OTHER reason to take a vacation

9/21/06 Two months ago I started this post. Most of these words were written in July, but I am finally ready to come back and finish it. We just got back from a two week vacation to visit our families in Utah. I learned something vital on this trip. As we visited with friends and family and even strangers, I realized that vactions serve many purposes. We get to go see a new place, visit with friends and family, make new friends, have new experiences. This vacation for me served different purpose. It helped me remember what is important in life.

It all started as we were making the two day long drive from Oklahoma. I remember vividly the day we stopped at a gas station to fill up the car and take a bathroom break. I visited briefly with the woman running this gas station out in the middle of nowhere and getting a sense of her frustrations with life. As we spoke, I felt like I was listening from outside my body. I was just observing the interaction. I began to understand that life is so much more than what we see and do on a daily basis. My vacation got me away from the daily grind and got me out of a rut and gave me a new perspective.

As I type all of these metaphors I am actually picturing them in my head. Imagine being tied to a stone going around and around grinding wheat. Hence, the "daily grind" and being "in a rut". The deeper the rut goes down in the ground, the shallower your perspective. So, getting out of the rut can definitely change your perspective. While on vacation, I felt like I was "flying" above everyone else, thus giving me a much wider perspective.

Monday, June 26, 2006

My map of the US

Thanks to the SS blogger (lisaroo) who found this. I am impressed with how many states I have visited. Well, mostly it is how many I have driven through on the way to somewhere else. But, it is still fun!

create your own visited states map

Our breakfast conversation

Breakfast time--it isn't just for eating! This morning, over frosted flakes, we discussed the meaning of life. My son Benjamin is 6 years old and has always been very wise and a deep thinker. He often asks questions about the nature of God and the purpose of life. Courtney, age 4, occasionally joins in, too. This morning, the conversation went something like this:

Me: How is your breakfast, Ben?

Ben: Mom, why did Adam and Eve eat the fruit in the Garden of Eden?

Me: Well, if they didn't, they would get to stay in that beautiful garden and walk and talk with God. But they would never progress beyond that. No children, no learning to live for themselves. They chose to eat the fruit to obey God's command to have children. They also knew that God wanted them to "move away from home" like you will when you get older to learn to make choices for themselves.

Ben: Oh. Were Adam and Eve ever children?

Me: Courtney, eat your cereal please. No, Ben. Heavenly Father and Jesus made them out of dirt and they started as adults.

Ben: Hmmm. Dirt and water right? Did they use the water to be their blood? (I don't know Ben. Maybe.) They started older cuz they needed to be able to start having kids, huh. Mom, Adam couldn't have been a prophet--he had no one to teach!

Me: Well, yes he was a prophet. Adam and Eve lived for like 900 years because they needed to have lots of kids to fill up the earth with people. He had many many people to teach.

Ben: Can we meet any of his kids?

Me: We are his descendents Ben. He lived 6 or 7 thousand years ago. His kids are long gone.

Ben: Mom, why do we need to come to earth?

Me: So we can have a body like Heavenly Father and learn and grow and gain faith and learn how to make good choices on our own and learn to rely on our Father's help in our lives. Satan and his followers didn't get bodies and having bodies must be pretty important because Satan sure is mad that he doesn't have one. That's why he works so hard to try to get us to sin.

Courtney: It's sad that the Holy Ghost doesn't get a body.

Me: Well, he has a special job to do for Heavenly Father that he couldn't do if he had a body.

Ben: Mom, I don't think I will know what to do after I die. Can I have some more milk?

Me: Huh?

Ben: I won't be able to see without my eyes or hear without my ears, since I won't have my body.

Me: (smiling) Our spirits will still be able to see and hear, I'm sure. Don't worry Ben. You will be just fine. Heavenly Father will not make us do something we are not ready for. When we die we will be able to do what is necessary. But it won't be all that long before we are resurrected and we will have our perfect bodies like Heavenly Father and Jesus. Cool, huh!

Ben: Yeah.

And so it was. We learned a long time ago that with Ben, we can't give him "milk and honey" answers. He is ready for the "meaty" answers. I don't know how much longer I will be able to answer his questions. I might have to start asking HIM the questions, soon!

Friday, May 12, 2006

My dilemma

Do you ever feel guilty for avoiding what you should be doing? I feel this way a lot. Problem is, what SHOULD I be doing? When I am cleaning house, I feel like I should be playing with the kids. When I am playing with the kids, I feel like I should be cleaning house. (Let's just say that living in tornado alley gives me an excuse for how the toy room looks most of the time!) Another one: when I am on the computer, I feel guilty for not working on my scrapbooks. When I work on my scrapbooks, I feel like I should be doing something more productive. (I'm definitely producing scrapbooks, but is it "necessary"?)

Is there an answer to my question? Maybe I need one of those instruction manuals for myself! "Today, you should clean the kitchen from 9-10 and then read stories with Courtney until Jonathan wakes up. After making macaroni and cheese for lunch, your next step is..." But, being the unorganized person I am, with great aspirations for super organization, this program would never work. I would never be able to follow a schedule like that. I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person. [I'm having a hard time verbalizing this idea. I started this blog entry a week or so ago. Trying to make my thoughts a little more clear than mud...]

I think that the answer to my question is perhaps that I need to learn to schedule: "organize my time and my life" (that's the title of a book I own...maybe now it's time to read it). I learned from someone to block sections of time for work, family, play, personal time, etc. If I know that I am going to include all the activities in my life (cleaning, kid time, scrapbooking, etc.) then maybe I won't feel guilty for participating in any of these activities.

Kyle is reading over my shoulder. He said that I should learn from my son Jonathan, who is turning one this month. He only has a few choices: eat, sleep or suck his fingers. And he doesn't sit and deliberate over which one to do next; he makes a decision and sticks with it. He doesn't feel bad for the choice he makes. But, he is also pretty good about balancing out his activities throughout his day. The moral of the story, I guess, is to "become as a child."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Do you think Ebay has an instruction manual for kids?

Sometimes I really wish it existed. "Here comes the head, just one more push and...congratulations! It's a girl. She's a biggie! Now push again, here it comes...Ahh. The instruction manual. Whoa. She's going to be a challenge. Her book is huge!!!"

A personalized instruction manual. "Courtney for Dummies" or "The Idiot's Guide to Benjamin" or even, for those rough days, "Chicken Soup for Jonathan's Mother's Soul." Now that's what I'm talking about. Tips on how to potty train him? Page 124. How to connive her into obeying? Chapters 4-7. Frustrated with his health problems? Pages 57-64.

So what I really need to know today is: what is making all of my children throw up? Five times in the last 1 1/2 weeks I have cleaned it up. All three of them have taken a turn, or two. Two of them smelled exactly the same: so raunchy that Kyle even put on his gas mask and it still wasn't enough. He used to be the throw up cleaner, but it has gotten too much for him this week.

(Hopefully there is also a section on what to do when you overload the washer with the stinky sheets and then flood the garage...)

One more question. Anyone have the page to "How to know when to keep your child home from school or church." My mom never had to deliberate. I always seem to get it wrong. He is fine on the days I keep him home. And comes home sicker than a dog when I send him to school. I can't win!

I know that I can go to the scriptures for parenting advice. I am grateful for this. But I need some concrete advice on things like getting stains out of my baby's clothes and what to do when my baby isn't gaining weight. Let me know if you find the instruction manual on Ebay. I'll put in a bid.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I really am my son's mother!

Well let's see. Today's obsession for my son Benjamin, age 6, is Neopets. "Mom, the only thing I want to do is play on the computer." Three days ago it was He gets enough computer game time, I'd hate to see what he would try to do with a game system!

My obsession for the week, or at least the last two days, has been finances. Last week it was blogging. The month before it was Scrapshare border swaps. (I mail in 5 identical borders and I get an assortment back.) But today, it is Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. We got in debt buying this house, and I don't mean mortgage debt. I mean credit-card-because-we-didn't-have-funds-for-closing-costs kind of debt. I blame it on being uninformed, misinformed, poor money managers, moving to a town where we had to rush into buying because there are no family friendly rentals available. At least there weren't at the time we were looking. Add on the car payments (which thankfully are all gone now) for cars we had to go in debt to get because of accidents/broken down cars/needing a second car to take son to school and not have to make the one hour round trip to take Kyle to work and then pick him up.

Then, through Scrapshare of course, I found Dave Ramsey. He has a nationally syndicated radio program that I listen to online. (Thank goodness for DSL!) I already ordered his book off of amazon. And I spoke with a financial advisor that he recommends to help us revamp our investments and savings.

We have been wanting to get out of debt, especially since I got all our financial info on Quicken and I started including Kyle in bill paying and financial decision making. He always left it to me. Scary. We were motivated to pay it off, but didn't have the knowhow to really pull it off. Now I feel empowered. It feels nice to "know" about debt now and investing and savings and life insurance and mortgages and... I think I listened to 5 hours of his program archives yesterday and 3 hours today.

I wonder when my obsessions will channel elsewhere. I hope I keep the finances as a priority, though. It would sure feel good!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Anyone else afraid of their washing machine?

I discovered this great word today. Ecophobia. According to, it is "an obsolete term for a morbid fear of one's home surroundings." I think that comes pretty close to describing how I feel about life sometimes. I am afraid of what COULD happen in my home.

Take my washing machine. We have been proud owners of our very own washing machine for coming up on two years now. Wahoo! No more public wash rooms! Now, I think I want to get rid of it. Too much stress! When the movers first installed it, they didn't know what they were doing and the drain hose came off as I was inspecting it during it's first run. I caught it and shoved it back on. It was as exciting as watching paint dry the next few loads as I waited for the inevitable leak again. Never happened. Thank goodness!

Today, I was doing my motherly duty and washing my child's bedding. Two sick kids this week means two loads of stinky bedding. The smell of throw up is oh so beautiful, so I decided to wash the pillows to get the stink out. The first time, it went just fine and dandy. But the pillow was in by itself. This time, I threw in the sheets and then added the pillow. Boy was that a mistake! Lesson learned today: alway make sure you follow the instructions to keep the clothes below the level of the drain holes in the wash tub. My pillow wasn't even in the tub enough to allow the washer lid to close. Oops.... the water overfilled and overfilled and, well, Kyle (my dear husband) and I got to clean up the washroom and the adjacent garage this morning! Five minutes of overfilling a washer can produce an amazing amount of water.

I was already paranoid enough of my appliances causing fire/flood damage in my home that I wouldn't run anything if I wasn't home. I did finally walk on the wild side and start using the crock pot while we are gone at church, and we come home to a house filled with the smell of dinner and not the smell of smoke. But I draw the line at the dishwasher and washing machine. (This old house has had enough water damage!) One time I sent Kyle home from church because I was SURE that I had left the stove on that morning. Going on vacation, I check the house a million times to be sure we turn off everything. But even then, I spend the first half an hour paranoid that we left something on. Then I worry that we will have a leak in some pipes, a fire from some appliance, and then I just pray hard and try to forget it.

Don't even get me started on what other annoying problems we have had here, though. A mouse party one night all over our house, comotose flies that line up on the walls and just wait their turn to be swatted, roaches that walk on the ceiling to get away from the traps.... My fear of my house at times gets so bad that I don't want to be here because of the pest plagues, but I don't want to leave for fear of the appliances malfunctioning.

Or like the time Kyle was on a business trip and I thought I got bit in my sleep by a poisonous spider. I tore apart the bedroom looking for evidence and spraying for spiders and shaking out my sheets. I couldn't sleep well thinking it may come back! Pests, appliances, and the what-ifs of life give me the willies. Most of the time, I do just fine. But other times I think I sound like a paranoid fool. If you talk to my husband, he might just agree with that!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Life, according to Scrapshare

Scrapshare made me do it. (Scrapshare is a group of mostly women who use or sell or appreciate Creative Memories. I am a consultant. I am a customer. Mostly, I am my only customer, but I do have a few kinds souls keeping me in business. I found SS because I moved away from my upline and have been missing having the inside scoop on the business and the products. So I looked for and found SS.) Anytime lately I buy or try something new, it is Scrapshare's fault. My virtual best friend, it seems. We've only been friends since December 2005, but that is long enoughfor it to have built a relationship of trust with me. My husband no longer has to ask me where I found out about something or "who" I discussed a topic with, because I either say "Angie and I talked about..." or I don't. And if I don't, it can only mean one thing. Scrapshare. Because of my friendship with SS:
1. I bought a die cut machine because of all the cool layouts with die cut letters. I used to like Creative Memories ABC stickers. Now, I see there is so much more to life! I even got my favorite SHADOW BOX font for $75. Wowsa!
2. I have learned the lingo. TIA, ETA, ITA, DH, OMFSM...
3. I bought Basic Escentuals make up (it is in the mail right now). It seems like it will solve a major make up problem I have. Foundation always shows up, my pores are huge and make the makeup show up, my skin is rough, I got mild rosacea from my pregnancy #3, I am 32 (meaning I have to start thinking about wrinkles, etc.) I know, 32 isn't old. But have you watched tv commercials? "I am over 30 now. I need to take special care of my body with special make up, special vitamins, etc." I am not old, I am not old, I am not old.
4. The Diva Cup. Google it if you are sure you want to know.
5. "Honey, have you heard about .......... in the news (that I read about on SS)?" I say to my husband. Sadly, SS is where I get most of my news. SSers, if something important happens, please let me know about it, okay?
6. I am considering the wishblade purchase, but holding off as long as possible. I just barely fell to the wiles of the die cut machines, I can't convert yet! (Wish I had waited, but my name is Karen, and I am an impuse buyer.)
Which brings us to...
7. Blogging. This is my very first blog entry. I read a post today about "Why do people blog? I don't get it." I didn't get it either, but I never read one. As I read just a few responses, I realized that blogging is definitely a good fit for me. I enjoy writing, but I haven't for a long time. One excuse I have is that I lost my personal journal when we moved last year. I have things I'd like to have written, but used this as an excuse. I've never been a "Dear Diary, here's what mundane boring things I did today." Not for me. I like to write about things like this. My thoughts and ramblings. So for now, blogging is what I am going to do. (Until my attention is drawn elsewhere. I am a jack of all trades, master of none, but that is for another entry...)