Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday- Line upon line

"Line upon line. Precept on precept. That is how he lifts us. That is how he teaches his childreeeeen."

Stuck in your head now, isn't it;)

Of the many things parenthood has given me, one of my top fives is a greater understanding of my relationship with my Father in heaven.

As I lay in bed last night, failing to fall asleep so thinking instead, I had some fun thinking about my sweet boys and the silly faces they make. As usually happens when I think about them in the peace and quiet of their absence, I started to mentally kick myself for all the times I've lost my patience with them.

My thoughts turned to Heavenly Father. How is it possible that He is so patient with me?! There are so many things that I make mistakes on over and over and over again. When similar situations happen with my kids, I get fed up pretty darn fast.

"I JUST told you not to do that or you'd get hurt! Now you're hurt! Why don't you listen to me?!"

If anyone has the right to say that, it's Him.

Or how about, "You KNOW that's not okay. So why did you do it????"

How am I any different than my boys in my behavior? I'm not. Sure, the things I mess up on are very different from the issues they have, but I've learned most of the precepts that the boys are just beginning to internalize. We are on different levels, but we're still in the same process.

Heavenly Father is continually forgiving, understanding, and merciful when I biff it. He's never yelled at me or lost patience with me. I have felt chastised and I have needed to repent, but I've never felt any anger from him. What I have felt is love. And I believe that's more effective, motivational, and persuasive than anything.

If He can be so patient with me when I mess up on bigger issues, then why can't I emulate that and be patient when a little fellow I took part in creating screams that it's his turn for the scooter or whines about not getting a treat or jumps on the furniture necessitating the 10,000th reminder that that is not okay only to be followed by someone continuing to jump, fall, and hit his head less than two minutes later?

I am determined to be more like Him. I have certainly progressed over the years, but I can still do so much better. He is patient with me and that has shown me how to be patient with the children He's entrusted to me.

I'm so grateful to have that perfect example of parenthood and to be walking this path with Him.

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, September 25, 2010


It's that time of year.

General Conference time!

And as a member of the Relief Society, I get a "warm up" the week before Conference. Tonight was the General Relief Society meeting.

It was incredible. In.cred.i.ble. And I wasn't even there; I was watching it being broadcast in a stake center with my mom.

I started getting teary before it even started. They had the live feed going while people were still arriving at the Conference Center. I saw the back of Elder Hales head as he went to his seat and I immediately was filled to the brim with a sense of love and appreciation for him and all that he does for the Church members, for Jesus, and for Heavenly Father. He and all the other apostles are amazing men who I have come to love very much. In those few moments the Spirit bore testimony to me that the work he does is not for himself or for any worldly glory; he's called of God to be a witness of Jesus Christ.

So yes, started the meeting off on a great note:)

Then we sang, "Count Your Blessings." Good heavens, did I really have to start crying before the opening prayer was even offered?!?! We later sang, "More Holiness Give Me," and I've determined that my next big project will be to memorize hymns so I can sing them whenever I want and have that spiritual lift (good music really lifts me up and none more so than the hymns of Zion:)).

One of my biggest impressions during the beginning was of sadness for the millions of people who don't have the blessings of being in an organized religion (most especially the one I'm in;)). I receive so much strength and joy when I'm gathered together with other members. When we sing together. When we pray together. When we learn together. When we worship together. And when I can be a part of a worldwide gathering at Conference time...WOW:) I'm so sad that "religion" is being added to the list of society's taboo words. Following the tenants of a religion now carries with it the connotation of slavery. Nothing could be further from the truth! The blessings that so many are denying themselves simply because they feel themselves too enlightened to be "tied down" by a religion! It's very sad to me.

I am also determined to be a better visiting teacher, to really try to build a friendship with the sisters I get to visit.

And President Monson? Oh, how I love him! I get all teary just thinking about him and how amazing he is. I am so thankful for a prophet. I am going to try to remember what he taught tonight and pray for help to live it every day. I've made much progress over the last eight years in the judging others department, but I still have a long way to go.

What a beautiful night it was for such an amazing meeting of sisters. I feel so blessed tonight to be part of this Church and part of the most wonderful women's organization ever:)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Feeling Fulfilled

It's Feeling Fulfilled Friday, again!

It's been a...week. Not too shabby, but not very close to what I'd like it to have been. Why must life be like an old time rail journey? I sure wish I didn't feel like I was always taking one step forward and five steps back.

I tell you what though, I feel a major sense of accomplishment today. As of this afternoon, Jonz and I have officially made it to our first school vacation! We've been doing school for six weeks and we've made it to our first week break. Not exactly sure why, but I feel like this is a big success:)

And even though we won't be doing our normal, everyday lessons at home-we've still got school stuff next week. There's co-op and a field trip to the zoo planned. Yee-haw!

You may think that six weeks not so much to feel accomplished about; it does seem silly to me, too. But after experiencing these last six weeks- I feel like shouting from the rooftops, "We did it! Look how far we are!"

And I am very ready for this weekend:)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Well, Thursday, it's a darn good thing you alliterate well with thankful.

Lately, Thursdays have become incredibly and insanely busy. It's been very nice to pause and post here about blessings.

Today I am thankful for flexibility. There are a couple "responsibilities" I have that are flexible enough that I can say, "...nope! Not gonna do that today," and it's fine!

Like kindergarten soccer. I love soccer. I love kids. Put 'em together...and I mostly love it;) Years and years ago, Bret would tell me that I should be a little kids' soccer coach. I have never felt confident enough in my abilities to try it. But a month ago, as I was taking a shower after filling out Jonzy's soccer registration I suddenly thought, "I should volunteer to be a soccer coach." And then I laughed (out loud!) at myself for having such a thought, considering how busy we've gotten lately. But it kept coming back until I realized that maybe it wasn't my idea and I should consider it. So I considered it and settled on volunteering to be an assistant coach so I could help, but still be free to go to weddings or RS activities, etc.

You may have gathered, I am not an assistant coach. I am the one and only coach; one who has no assistant. Turns out too many kids were signed up and not enough volunteers were to be found for coaching, so they automatically bumped me up to coach and sent me on a guilt trip- you know, a "for the kids" thing. That got me.

I try to be a good coach. I have fun with the kids while also trying to teach good sportsmanship and concentration. I try to keep the parents informed. I hold practice. But this week- no thanks. I'm taking a break. No practice tonight! Freedom! We're having fun with Grandma and Grandpa K tonight!

As you can tell, I'm very refreshed by this.

I am also thankful that "Beauty and the Beast" is finally being re-released on DVD next month. It's the little things:)

And I'm thankful that it will soon be Sunday, a day of r.e.s.t.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sharing is good for the soul.

My children may not truly understand that or believe it yet, but I tell them anyway:) And every so often I remember to do it myself.

This weekend I was blessed to attend the wedding of a high school friend. I had a hard time coming up with a gift for her and her new husband. I finally decided on a two part gift, one part being a copy of the Family Proclamation. I wavered back and forth on whether or not to give something so special to me when the likelihood of it being discarded without a second glance was high. Then Chocolate on my Cranium posted what the weekly blog hop subjects would be in the up-coming Family Celebration. This week's would be "Sharing the Proclamation." Mere days after the wedding.

Ummm, can you say, "Lindsey- SHARE IT!" any louder?

I got the heavenly hint and included it in the gift with a little explanation in the card about why it was helpful and special to me and how I thought it could be helpful and special to them.

I packed the gift with everything else and went on my merry way to the next state over.

The wedding took place in a beautiful Baptist church. The pastor gave them a little marriage advice before pronouncing them man and wife. I LOVED what he said. I remember thinking, "I wonder if someone is writing this down for them? This is great advice!" Then I realized I'd read everything he was saying before, it was so familiar. And it hit me- I have exactly the same advice written down for them already and it's wrapped up in my car! This pastor is teaching principles in the Proclamation."

I know they still may throw the copy of the Proclamation away without reading it, or even after reading it. But sitting there in that ceremony, having my testimony strengthened about what I knew and the importance of what I was sharing was priceless.

It's also wonderful to know that other religions are teaching truths about the family.

So, go share that Proclamation! It honestly is good for the soul:)

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Protected by thy Might!"

Happy Constitution Day!!!!

"Happy is that people whose God is the Lord."
Psalm 144:15


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday

As always, there is much to be thankful for today.

My super awesome husband is the subject of most of my gratitude today. He is going to take the household wheel for THREE days. School, soccer game, meals, church, everything. All so I can go enjoy a weekend with friends in the next state over, one of whom is getting married! I was planning on just leaving super early on Saturday, make the wedding, go to church Sunday morning and then come home. He told me I should leave Friday morning instead so I can spend more time with the best friend a girl could ask for-Molly. Isn't he amazing? Yes. Yes he is:)

I'm grateful for the awesome co-op we're a part of. The kids are great, the moms are great, today's lessons were great.

I'm thankful my hair actually did what I asked it to today.

I'm grateful for my sweet sweet boys who cope quite well with these occasional crazy-busy days.

I'm thankful for Thankful Thursday.

I'm grateful for my scriptures. They're amazing and no matter how much I read them I always learn something new.

I'm thankful for showers. Oh how thankful I am that I have a the means available to get squeaky clean whenever I find the time (which I wish I could find more often).

I'm grateful to know that the constant whining stage won't last forever. Sure Jonz still whines, but with much consistency from Mom and Dad he's much better about it. Al and Goose however have entered the perpetual whiny stage. This too shall pass, this too shall pass...

I'm thankful for food. And I think it's time to satiate my hunger and get back to my to-do list so maybe I'll be able to have enough time to sleep tonight.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Family Tree in PICTURES

When I first saw the subject for the weekly blog hops for the Family Celebration, I saw this week's and thought, "Well that's one I won't be participating in." It's about family inspired crafts.

I am not a crafty person. I have dabbled a bit more than usual in the art this last year than I have in years past. I have some final results I really like and ideas for more, but many of my projects remain unfinished. I didn't think I had anything to contribute to this blog hop.

But then it hit me. I did have a craft to offer. At least I think it counts as a craft:) It didn't require any skills with paint, pens, mod podge, or glitter. It's a project that's taken me four years and I am on the cusp of finishing it.

It started when we bought our first home four years ago. Finally we had some really wall space to work with. And for the first time ever, we had a family room. Being the family sciences major and family enthusiast that I am, I wanted to have a family theme for our family room. I was struck with the brilliant (I don't think it was mine, so I can call it brilliant:)) idea to devote an entire wall to a family tree in pictures. I thought pictures would be a great way for my then one year old son to start getting to know his relatives and ancestors.

And so I put out the call to my family and Bret's for pictures. I had a few already in my own collection. Some family responded with not just the one picture I asked for, but packets of amazing pictures! Other pictures have proven more difficult to get a hold of. I still lack one necessary picture.

I didn't want to try to put the collection on the wall until I had all the pictures. That way I could play with different arrangements on the floor before committing to something more permanent on the wall. That and I ended up having twins just over a year later. The project came to a halt. But I did happen across a clearance of large metal letters that seemed like a good addition to the as-yet-non-existent family wall, so I bought the two letters representing our family names.

And then we moved! And the house we bought was so much easier to decorate than our first. Michael's and Robert's became my most favorite stores. I had been planning on placing all the pictures in individual frames. But one day, while perusing the Michael's weekly flier I spied a collage frame that jumped from the page yelling, "I'm perfect for your family tree project! Buy me!!" After I got over the shock of being yelled at by an inanimate object, I measured the wall to make sure they'd fit then went and bought four of the frames (on sale for $3.99 each! I love Michael's frame sales!!). Collages meant I could hang the pictures I already had without having to wait for the rest! Yay!

Then, with the help of my husband, a tape measure, a pencil, and a hammer and nails this was hung on our wall:

Our family picture is in the middle. Under the H is Bret's nuclear family then his parents' and grandparents' families in the frame of the left. The right is the same for my side of the family. The frames with our grandparents' pictures even lend themselves to the branching style of family trees you normally see. In the 5X7 slots I put a tree picture with family names and the pictures of our parents' families, then branching off from that I put the pictures of our grandparents' families.

Here's a closer shot of my family frame:

We both come from families of six. I put a picture of our families when we were little tykes; a picture of our families now- spouses, kids, and all; and separate pictures of our parents and our three siblings. The unfilled spot will be taken up by a picture of trees and our family name, which I have yet to make.

The further back in generations we went, the harder it was to find pictures. For most of the last generation I sought pictures for, I ended up photoshopping (after a tutorial from Bret) together a picture of the parents with a picture of the children. Like so:

Don't you just love old pictures? Well, I do! Especially when I know who is in them. My grandparent's made for cute kids. We have good genes in our family;)

So there you have it! A family tree in pictures.

The boys love it. They'll stand on the couch and point to people the know, excitedly shouting out names while I tell them about the time they met Mommy's grandpa or the last time we saw Daddy's grandmother or a far-away uncle. It's so fun to see them excited about our family! Bret gets into it, too. He'll show the wall to people who come over and talk about his Australian, Indonesian, and Dutch roots. You don't have to go far in his family before you get out of the country!

Now to just get the last family picture and make that last name picture...Then I can finally take down the "work in progress" sign:)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Feeling Fulfilled Friday

Yes, I blogged about this weeks ago...I haven't remembered to document my efforts until this week.

Head over to MamaBlogga for more FFF details.

This week was a pretty darn good week as far as my feeling fulfilled goes. I didn't do the best job today:/; yesterday was the peak of the week.

Best, most fulfilling thing of Thursday: making my boys laugh. We had a laughter filled day on Thursday and it was awesome! Few things make me feel so fulfilled as making my boys laugh. None of that fake laugh stuff. I'm talking about really deep, from-the-gut, spontaneous laughter.

It was beautiful.

Now I've just got to keep working to make days like Thursday a regular occurrence:)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Oh my. It's Thursday already.

I tell you what, I sure feel like a headless chicken these last few weeks. And yet...oddly put together.

Life has changed dramatically. The Jonzter started school. And since we homeschool-days are full of lessons and nights are full of preparation. He's also part of a study for early education software for a locally-based company- two days a week, two hour commitment each time. We started a co-op this month. One morning a week, plus prep for my teaching responsibilities. I'm about to start coaching Jonzy's very first soccer team- two games a week and I haven't decided about practice yet (thankfully, it's a short season). Bret and I have drastically changed our eating habits. I'm trying to exercise every day, but really only succeeding about 3-4 times a week.

Then there's the ever present three small children I love to care for, husband I'd like to spend more time with and maybe occasionally get to go on dates with, meals to prepare, house to maintain, family and personal scripture study to accomplish, church callings to fulfill, errands to run, blog posts I'd like to read (like the awesome Family Celebration posts here and here) and write, things I'd like to ponder on longer than five minutes, books I'd like to read, etc.

I really do want there to be extra hours in the day!

Lately, I've started to stress more when I realize that my life is only going to get busier. So I try not to think about that.

But I am super thankful, that things are all working out so far. The only times I feel overbooked is when I'm trying to fall asleep;) The days are running along and feel very full. I feel like I should be majorly stressed about everything there is to do. But I'm not. So grateful for the peace I feel that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. I'm certainly not accomplishing everything I want to...and even some things I need to (...when WAS the last time I mopped???).

I am thankful for my life. The whole busy, crazy, nigh-unto-headless-chicken life. Without this life I wouldn't have my amazing family. And I'm not willing to trade them for anything!

What are you thankful for???

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I was there

I don't like having my picture taken. Add to that that I am usually the one behind the camera and if someone needs a picture of me, they're in trouble.

But...I don't want to be forgotten as the generations press on. I want my children, my grandchildren, and posterity through the ages to know that I was here, that I loved, and that my family enjoyed each other. That I took on the challenge of heeding prophets' counsel as a mother. The Family Proclamation tells us that, "Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children." Selfish as it may be, I want my posterity to know that I was here and that I nurtured my children. I'm know there are ways to know that besides seeing pictures. Pictures seem to make it more real, though.

Thankfully, there are some pictures with me. My favorite though, are the ones where I am slightly obscured, but you can still tell I'm there. Photographic evidence that I am a mother.

That I tried to bring organization to chaos:)

That I taught.

That I supported.

That I protected.

That I loved it. Alright, so they may just have to trust me that I loved it;)

But it's the truth.

I know.

I was there!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The D word

No, not that D word.

The other one that Bret and I are not allowed to speak- divorce.

Okay, so we can say it, but we decided long before we were married that divorce would never be an option for us. Bret tries to be gallant and tell me that if he ever turns into an axe murderer that I should leave him. Harhar:/ In the unlikely event that THAT ever happens, I think I would have bigger things to worry about. And divorce would still not be an option.

That's how important I know marriage is. Here is what else I think-

Marriage is not just about mutual support and companionship. It's about building a family; an eternal family. Should something as awesome and special as an eternal family be easy to get??
This is a quote I use often, but only because it fits so often. Thomas Paine wrote, "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods..."

Marriage is a proving ground. Can we stick through it, the thick AND the thin, and become more like Christ? Capable of having an eternal family? Marriage is a fantastic place to learn, practice, and live Christlike qualities like forgiveness, humility, patience, altruism, LOVE, generosity, service, sacrifice, etc. Why throw that opportunity away on silly little things like, "We fell out of love" or "I need to find out who I am" (side note: you'll do better finding yourself if you stay married and work on your relationship with your spouse!). Or even huge things like, "He/she cheated on me." Working through trials to marriage makes us into better, stronger souls and gives an even greater understanding of Christ's atonement.

Sure, there are times when divorce is necessary. I'm not going to recommend to anyone that they stay in a marriage where they're being beaten nightly. That said, marriage is not something to be entered into lightly. I've seen a couple of (and if I've seen them in my little world it means there are probably lots more) instances where a person has tried to justify their divorce to me when it is glaringly obvious that those two should not have married in the first place. And in both instances, I believe they could have worked things out, even as bad as it was.

I have also seen a couple instances where in the eyes of the world the wife would have had every right to leave her husband without any guilt or regret. But she didn't. And both marriages became something enviable, beautiful, and awesome. To think of what they would have missed out on is sad, to say the least. How joyful to know that they didn't:)

Don't even get me started on what divorce does to children.

But back to the good stuff:) What does taking the divorce option out do for a marriage?

It gives it MAJOR security!
I don't have to worry that Bret's going to skip out on me when the going gets rough just because it would be easier to pay child support and alimony than live with me and three wild monkeys-I-mean-boys. Bret doesn't have to worry that I'm going to throw in the towel one day and leave for a simpler-instant-gratification kind of life. When a couple knows that they're going to have to work through the rough times it takes a huge stress out of each struggle. At the very least you know there will be light at the end of the tunnel, not questions about whether or not your marriage will survive on top of everything else.

It increases love, love, love!
How can you not love someone who is going to stick by you even when you've not been the nicest person in the world? After you've made it through a trench, how can you not turn around and be so grateful to your spouse for the support? For being your faithful companion? The potential for love to grow between husband and wife is boundless! Don't limit it with the option of divorce!

Some may say (and have), "Well that's all fine for you. You and Bret are fantastic together." To which I say, "Yes we are;) But it's not because we're just lucky that way. We found some awesome keys to success that we use to our advantage." Divorce has never and will never be an option. That has been so freeing in our marriage. Which sounds slightly counter-intuitive, but it seems like the best things are.

We also take this passage of The Family: A Proclamation to the World very seriously:

"Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other..."

A solemn responsibility. Not "a passing fancy" or "when it's convenient." Solemn. Responsibility.

This is serious business.

But I tell you what. When a couple takes marriage seriously, puts in the effort to think more of the other than themselves: how the fantastic-ness flows! The love abounds like nothing I could ever have imagined. Marriage. Is. Awesome.

(We are not good self portrait takers which turned to our advantage here as we had to keep trying for the right shot:))

So I say, "Just say NO to divorce."

But I think my dad says it best when he simply says, "If the grass looks greener on the other side...water your grass."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Celebrating Family

If you haven't looked into the Family Celebration posts yet...even though I've told you how awesome it is;) can't miss this one:

Mawwiage **Spoiler alert: secrets to happy marriage revealed.**

Seriously. It's everything important and awesome about marriage all rolled into one easy to read post.

Divorce is not an option. Rip that page out of your options book and burn it. You might be amazed at how much your marriage improves!

But what I love most in the post was what was said about God being part of marriage. I firmly believe that marriage is made up of three- a husband, a wife, and God. When things are going great between husband and wife, Heavenly Father lifts them up together. When things aren't so great, what better support can a spouse have than Heavenly Father's? Where will anyone find someone who will sustain them through marital struggles better than God? After all, he did ordain the institution. He knows how beneficial it is and he'll be right there with us the whole way through!

I love families! I love that I can be a part of this month long celebration!

Thankful Thursday

Things Lindsey is thankful for today:

The Family Celebration! It's a great way to start the day except I only seem to have time lately to read through the post and not add much to discussion myself. *sigh* How to find extra time...

Molly! Molly is visiting and that is something to be extremely thankful for. By the end of this month we'll have seen each other FOUR times this year! That hasn't happened since I graduated from high school and moved away...eight years ago. FOUR times:) I get to go see her again in just a couple weeks and I'm super excited!!!

All my boys' kissable cheeks.

The way Jonzy's eyes lit up when I told him Bret would set up the tent and we'd camp outside tomorrow night.

Seeing my mom for lunch.

The breeze outside. It's a bit warm, but the breeze makes it so pleasant to be outside.

Homeschool flexibility.


Bret. I wish he was here instead of at a city council meeting, but it sure is fun to think about him!

The scriptures. Or as my brother calls them, the sticks. They're absolutely amazingly wonderful!

What are you thankful for today??

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

FAMILY celebration time!!

It's September!!!

I don't have any posts yet; they're still churning around in my head.

But click on the buttons on my sidebar and go start in on the fun!!

Happy Family month:)