Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ken and Chrys are still married

Ken and Chrys are still married.

In one of my recent posts I was referring to some difficult times we have faced in the last couple of years. I do have every intention of writing more about them although for most of you it will only be repetitive. My mom keeps telling me I really need to write about these experiences. I will. I really will.

At any rate... I mentioned that I've seen parents get divorced and I have. I do consider Geoff's parents to be my own. Just to make it perfectly clear, Ken and Chrys are still married. It will be 42 years this December!

Divorce is devastating. It has been one of the hardest things we've had to experience. I hadn't seen Geoff cry until then. We cried together. We cried alot together. Even now thinking about it and the circumstances around the divorce it still makes me cry.

Dinner experience last night

Me and the 4 kids at the table. We were eating our dinner and having conversations. Here's how it went down.

Caleb: "mom, you should be a lunch lady at our school cuz you make yummy food."
Tyler: "yeah mom you should. Guess what nice surprise I found in my taco today?"
Me: "what?"
Tyler: "a big long hair"
All of us: "eeeewwwwwww"
Tyler reaching into his pocket: "yeah and I think I still have the hair. Wanna see it?"

And after the leggy soup I was sure it wouldn't get any more fun.

Yes, Tyler really did save the hair. Why, you might ask??? Me too!!!

Dinner experience 3 nights ago

Caleb: "Mom, this soup has bugs in it"
Me: "no it doesn't. It's just the seasoning I put in it."
Tyler: "Then your seasonings have legs because mine has legs also."

After checking my soup thoroughly I had to concede.

I noticed that I had a bunch of cream cheese in the fridge so I planned to get some milk and broccoli with my food order at the Bishop's Storehouse, which I did. I decided that I would make a huge pot of it and have it for a couple of days. We had it one night without any gliches (concerns about leggy seasoning). It was the second night when we had it for leftovers that the legs were discovered!

I have a huge container of chicken bouillon and it is about 5 years old. Apparently you can't keep bouillon that long. Unless you like leggy seasoning. And then some could argue the added protein is good for you. I, for one, don't like leggy soup or seasonings so the whole pot was dumped.

So was the bouillon.

What we cheer for!

I've been watching some ads on t.v. that advertise a trip to Disneyland. You've probably seen them too. The ones where the parents have surprised their kids with a trip to Disneyland and the kids start cheering and screaming with excitement.

I went to the Bishop's storehouse the other day for my first ever food order. It was an interesting first. I remember a couple of years ago sitting with sisters filling out THEIR food order. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought it would be my turn in a couple of years. Never. But it happened. (and, by the way, how thankful I am for it!!!)

So I brought the groceries home and asked my kids to go out to the car and help carry groceries in. My kids went out to the car, and just like the kids on the commercials, started screaming and cheering that we had food.

It was a moment not to be forgotten. And now it really won't because it's here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Weakness

I have found my limit! I have found my red light. I've discovered what I CAN'T do.

I know that I CAN run a 200+ mile relay race over 2 days.
I can run my house. I can run 3 businesses at a time, be Relief Society president and full time mom all at once.
I can raise 4 crazy kids.
I can live through a ruptured tubal pregnancy (barely made that one!)
I can live through 11 miscarriages and make the decision to not try any more.
I can lose a house and car. Well, I know where they are- just not in my possession anymore.
I can lose our 3 businesses we worked so hard to make successful.
I can lose property and valuable "things".
I can live through parents getting divorced (although the stitches in my heart are still mending) (***EDIT: Ken and Chrys are still very much married and in love! I do consider Geoff's parents my own as well. Sorry about such confusion!!! Stop the gossip quickly!)
I can live through unkind things said about me and nurturing a budding desire to forgive.
I can move several hundred miles away from my parents who have lived down the street from me and my kids for 14 of our 16 years of marriage.
I can move away from all my friends who I love and admire.
I can live everyday wondering where the money will come from for the next bill.
I'm living through the scary thought of one of my kids having a brain tumor.
I can do hard things. I can. I do.

But what I can't do is be without Geoff! He's been gone for 3 weeks and I've got 2 more to go. Time can't move fast enough. I'm falling apart.
I'm so in love with my husband.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Dad! I Love You!

Wow! Where do I even start.
My dad, my hero.
He means so much to me. Here are a few of the things I LOVE about him.

He's taught me that learning is endless. He ALWAYS has his nose in a book. I grew up always seeing my dad excited and anxious to learn more about the gospel. Scripture study is something he never misses. I know at the crack of dawn I will find him in his favorite chair studying the scriptures and then moving on to some other gospel book.

He's taught me how to use duct tape in 350 different ways including (but not limited to because there really is no end to what you can do with duct tape or in my house, grey tape) mending holes in your shoes, belting loose jeans, patching torn jeans, hemming church pants, art work, plumbing issues, fixing a broken handle on the car, putting the rear view mirror back in place, patching a hole in the boat, patching a hole in your hat, getting rid of warts.

He's taught me there is no if, only when. I can do anything I decide to do.
He's taught me to be dependable at any cost, that doing hard things makes me stronger. Never say no to a calling. Obedience is ALWAYS first priority.

Work so you can have fun. Make vacation a priority. Love your spouse. Never forget the Lord in anything. Who cares what you wear, just be glad you have something to wear. Make yourself work hard.

Wrong turns aren't really wrong turns- they are just another adventure.
He taught me to love camping, fishing, Mexico. He's the reason why I am a creative cook because, as he says, "if a little is good more is better", and that a banana in most anything tastes great (well anything, if you ask him). He helped me see the value in a long afternoon nap. He also helped me see just how quickly I could get out of bed bright and early in the morning when he poured freezing cold water over my face.

He's quiet and strong. He taught me to work hard and to not let being female limit me in any way. He expects alot from me.

He's taught me a love for giving. He's the most generous person I know. He has a humanitarian spirit that is contagious and I'm so thankful for his example. I've learned through the years from him that giving is always more fun than to receive.

Last August it was time for us to make our move to Utah. We have been best friends with my parents forever and now we had to say goodbye. After we did the last final loading of the truck we headed down the street to my parents to say goodbye. That was one of the hardest days our family has had. We stood in their kitchen and I watched my parents and my kids hug and kiss and say goodbye with many tears in their eyes. It was my turn. I looked at my dad and he reached into his wallet. If you know him you know he always carries a $100. bill neatly folded up and tucked away in the corner of his wallet, "for emergencies", he says. So he took out his $100. bill and hands it to me with tears in his eyes. I watched him take it out and like a little kid fold it up for me. Then he hands it to me and says, "put this away in a far corner of your wallet for emergencies". I took it, then we hugged and cried our eyes out together. I think that's a memory I will never forget and I told myself that I would never spend that $100. bill.

That $100 bill is gone now. Not because I wanted to but out of PURE DESPERATION. One day we were down to nothing, again, but this time we were racking up the overdraft fees faster than I could scream and I couldn't figure out how to make it stop. I found every penny we had and deposited it but we were still short. I knew that money was there but there was no way I was going to use it-- not THAT $100. bill. But that was all I had and I knew it had to be deposited. I took it to the bank crying like a baby. Not about our poor financial situation but because of how much that bill meant to me. After depositing the money the lady at the bank said, "oh, you look like you need a sucker". I wanted to punch her.

I climbed my mountain that day and cried the entire 3 miles up. I kept trying to tell myself that it was only money. But it wasn't only money. It was special to me. The value of that bill far exceeded its face value and I didn't have it anymore.
What I do have though is the memory and that can never be taken away.

I think my dad thinks I'm awesome. I hope he knows how awesome he is to me.
I love you, dad.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Mountain

One of the perks of living in Pleasant View is that we live at the base of some beautiful mountains. We discovered that there are several hiking trails on these mountains. It's a 7 minute drive to the start of the hike. We started hiking this mountain last year during the fall season and loved it! I could hardly wait till the snow melted to get back up there. One of the hikes is about an 11 mile round trip hike but for a daily hike I just go about 2 miles up to a lookout that is stunning. Every other day I go a little farther and one day I'll make the 11 mile roundtrip hike. I hike up and run down. The other day while I was running down I passed a man who said, "wow, you have way more energy than I do" to which I replied, "yes I do. My extra energy is stored in my backside. See my three rear ends"? He laughed and I told him not to rub it in next time.

This hike has become one of my newest best friends. It has heard my cries, my prayers and my gratitude. It's also teaching me so much.

The other day it was windy as heck and I decided that I was going anyway. There are several switch backs. I was cursing the wind the entire time until I got to the last switch back. Just as I was the most tired and had been fighting this wind the whole way up- almost blew my hat off a few times- I realized that on my last switchback the wind was blowing me forward and pushing me along. It became easy to get to my goal.

I think this has been my last few weeks. I feel opposition in many ways and the challenges are regular. When I have felt the most tired the Lord puts out a lifeline. Sometimes it's a friend who asks how I am and REALLY wants to know how I am. Sometimes it's a phone call from my parents (who are my best coaches!). Sometimes it's an unexpected gift dropped off at the door. Sometimes it's understanding as I read the scriptures. Sometimes it's a check in the mail. Lots of times it's a hug from Tyler and flowers from Caleb (he brings me flowers everyday! I don't know who's yard they come from but THANK YOU neighbors for planting such beautiful flowers for Caleb to pick and me enjoy at my desk or in the kitchen). It's tight squeezes from Geoff. It's personal revelation and feeling the Spirit. It's realizing that we have been blessed in so many ways.

I'm learning that the Lord will always be there but most especially when I feel my most tired. He will always be there.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Smarter Everyday!

I'm...I'm....I'm becoming a smarter mom! I'm tongue tied, actually. Ok- I'm so excited I just had to share! It has to do with laundry, Tyler and Caleb.

So the boys room has been a huge mess for days. Today I had enough with the mess and made them stop playing to clean their rooms. I know, duh! Should've done that a LONG time ago but they capitalize on my absentmindedness(could that be one whole word?) and busy-ness (I purposefully didn't want to say business-because there is none!) that I just haven't been the world's greatest mother. That's right, no "Mother of the Year" award--AGAIN.

ok- anyway. So Tyler and Caleb are cleaning their room and I make an effort to get my buns upstairs and just check in with them when to my horror I find Caleb bringing down this MOUNTAIN of laundry. Just looking at it at a glance I see clothes that I KNOW they haven't worn for a while but there they are---IN THE DIRTY LAUNDRY PILE.

So I say, "don't even think about it!". Then I tell them that they will go through every piece of laundry and check to see if it is clean or dirty and that the pile better be AT LEAST half the size when they are done. I leave to use the restroom.

I have revelation while using the restroom! No joke. I clean up and go back to the boys room all smug and smart and everything and I say, "ok- I take that back. You can put as much laundry in the laundry room as you want but you won't be able to play again until the dirty laundry has been washed, dried, folded and put away by yourselves. One load of laundry will take about an hour and a half."


See??, I AM getting smarter!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Lord has reduced my numbers!

I have so much to catch up on. I feel like this post is a middle chapter of 100 and you may have no idea what the beginning was like. One day I'll go back a year or two. But today I've got to post what's on my mind. I think it was revelatory for me.

Let me first say that lots of my posts seem to have a downer mood. Life is crap right now!!! I won't even try to flower it up because it hasn't been flowery. It's been crap. BUT we have also found peace and yes, even happiness. We are happy.

We continue to be left wondering every month how we'll survive yet another week. With no work and limited funds coming in our bank account has suffered. (Friends and family- this is not a call for help). I remember better days when we had 3 successful businesses going. I would make a deposit twice a month and each time I had to make a deposit it took me 3 hours to put it together. We had tons of checks that all had to be matched against the accounts receivables. Then I had to make copies of each check and then enter them on my deposit slip. We had to special order deposit slips because there was not enough room to list all the checks. You know what?!!! I COMPLAINED about how long it took me to get a deposit together!!! Today I laugh. I have special order deposit slips with line after line to enter checks and I have 1 check to enter maybe once a month. We started a new business selling Italian Ice. LuLu's Italian Ice- www.LuLusIce.com. We travel to different shows and festivals selling our ice and custard. On good shows we come home and I have to wash out several buckets and they are a pain. One night after we came home from a sale I began to complain about washing out those darn buckets and I remembered my deposit experience. I haven't complained about washing out buckets again. Washing out buckets means that we sold out of ice and were blessed. Now I pray to have the chance to wash out as many buckets as possible.

My story is getting long so I better cut to the chase. Our numbers have been reduced. We don't even deposit 1/10th of what we used to. We would be elated if we were just able to maintain a balance of zero. Those overdraft fees really add up!
Our little family has seen such hard times in the last 3 years it really is amazing. In so many ways! The financial part is just a part of it- there has been so much happening- so much that we have faced together- so many struggles, trials and challenges. We are on empty in EVERY way. I have often thought why has it had to be SO hard. Why so much in such a relatively short amount of time? I know the adversary would like to have me and I also realize that some of these thoughts are what he has planted. Nonetheless these questions have often been on my mind. I can understand why the Lord would need to polish somebody. I totally get that. It's necessary and a huge blessing- in the end. We have just experienced SO MUCH.

So yesterday during Sunday school I had personal revelation. The lesson was on Gideon of the Old Testament. Here was the question thrown out at the classroom, "Why did the Lord command Gideon to reduce his army of 32,000 to 300 to fight the Midianites?" Well, we know why. So that the Israelites would trust the Lord and recognize that it was the Lord's power that delivered them and not in any way was it their own wisdom, strategy or power.

It hit me like a ton of bricks! I had been praying and searching for answers and I received it during Sunday School yesterday. The Lord has reduced our numbers, strength, pride, everything, so that when He brings us up and delivers us, we will know that it had nothing to do with our smarts, strength, strategy, power nor any of our abilities but everything to do with His power. Why does it have to be so hard? So that we will know when He rebuilds us that it was by His power.

As it seems right now- I can't see the end. The challenges and struggles still come but I believe with all of my heart that one day the Lord will deliver us and when He does my family will know how we were delivered.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scripture Power

Our Relief Society lesson this past Sunday, 2 days ago, was on the scriptures. The lesson was great and it surfaced a memory I have from an experience a couple of years ago.

I had the kids in the car and we were headed somewhere. It was a pleasant day so we had the windows down. We stopped at a red light and the car next to us was blasting (as loud as he could) music with foul language. Yikes!!! I was fumbling around trying to get the windows up but realized that wasn't going to be fast enough. My fingers kept fumbling around the music player and I pushed the first button I could push just to get something else playing so my kids didn't hear what was outside. To my pure delight and surprise, the children's primary song, Scripture Power, began playing. I blasted the music and our whole family started singing at the top of our voices.....scripture power....everyday I need the power that I get each time I read. Our windows were not quite all the way up so now our song and voices were even louder than the foul music right next to us and we sang like there was no tomorrow. I paused and listened to my kids belt out the song. It was powerful! Not just the loudness of it all but the words to the song and the conviction I felt about the message in the song.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm alive

It's been so stinkin' long since I last posted. I keep thinking I just need to sit down and write something....ANYTHING! Well, here it is.

One day I'll take us all back to June of 2009 and update my blog journal. That's really what this is for me, my journal. Since I don't keep any other sort of life record this is it. So much has happened and hasn't happened. I've learned so much. I'd like to think I'm evolving into.....not sure yet but somethig different.

So here's a thought I've been pondering for a while. While my mom was visiting us here in Utah we had a chance to squeeze out life and visit a bit. She said something that I've been thinking about. She said, "It's easy to be sad and blue. It takes alot of work to be happy". Being sad, mad, blue- you can call it whatever you want--- is the easy way. It really does take work, motivation and determination to be happy. I guess we can sit on our rumps and play the blame game or get up, get going and make our own happiness!

I know some of these thoughts don't make sense for some of you- but again, this is my journal and these are my thoughts right now, so there!