Monday, December 17, 2012

Good vs. Evil

Good vs. Evil--the battle as old (or older) than time. It is a battle we are all fighting in whether we realize it or not. 

Two sides, many soldiers. 

Whose side are you on?

Evidence of the wickedness: Terror struck a small city on Dec. 14, 2012. The recent heart-wrenching tragedy has caused pleading for relief. More prayers are being offered up to Heaven. Sweet Angels young and old were taken and sent back Home. Those left behind are suffering a gamut of emotions. I have nothing to say that is adequate for this situation. I think parents and those with any feeling whatsoever know what I am talking about. 

We want to do something to make it all better. 
We are afraid to send our children to school, or go to a mall, or to the movies, or anywhere where an unstable and armed person may be lurking. 
At the same time, we have to be strong for our children. 
We have to keep enduring and trying to make it in an ever increasing wicked and scary world.

There is One who can understand all of our feelings and pains, because he felt them too--long ago, in a garden. Suffering for the sins, afflictions, pains, sicknesses--He knows: 

Mosiah 3:7 says, "And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people."

And also Alma 7:11 says, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people." 

The pains and sicknesses--the atonement is not just for sins. He understands us because he has felt it all too. 

That gives me some comfort. We have the Greatest One of all fighting for us and He wants us on His team.

People want prosperity. We want peace. We want to be happy. Funny thing is, I don't know that many people actually know how to acquire it. It's not by working more hours at your job. It's not by fighting wars with other countries. It's not by buying more stuff, having big houses or fancy cars. 

We can have all of these things, but they are usually direct blessings from God because of our righteousness. The story is told over and over again in the scriptures: 

You have a group of people. They are prosperous and happy and righteous. Then, they become prideful--their hearts set on riches and getting gain. Bloodshed, wars, and all types of wickedness ensue. Then, God's destruction comes to cleanse the wickedness from the earth. The people are humbled and they repent. They seek righteousness again, and once again are blessed and become prosperous. It's a cycle of pride.

Unfortunately, I think we are on the part of the cycle that is ripe for destruction. Listen to the news. I can't watch it myself--it's too terrible. Anytime I hear a glimpse of it, there's murders, rapes, abuse, people fighting for unrighteousness, crimes involving legal and illegal substances, infidelity, lying, stealing, and cheating. The television plumbs wickedness directly into our homes not just through the news, but also in forms of entertainment.

We are influenced to think that immorality is okay. We are told we must accept wickedness or we are "haters," "bigots," or "intolerant." "If you don't like (insert whatever sin you can think of), then don't do it. Don't take away other people's rights." I've seen such a thoughts and quotes circling facebook and other media, and I think it is awful. For one, most of our choices, good or bad, do effect others. Satan wants you to believe that you can do whatever you want with your body and life.

Evil is being made to look good, while Good is being set up to look evil. 

It's the plan of Satan. He is a deceiver, a destroyer, a counterfeit, and a manipulator. He will twist righteousness and sugar coat sins to make it appear the way he desires. He even wants us to deny his existence as well as Heaven's, God's, Christ's and our own divinity. He wants to hide all of our identities, so we don't know who he really is and who we really are, and who we can become.

I don't follow what is popular with the world. I try to do what is right. I hope there are many people who do likewise. 

I love this quote by Saint Augustine of Hippo. It encapsulates so much with a simple phrase. 

The only way we can change the world--rid it of terrible crimes, sadness, and hopelessness--is to choose good. Stop choosing evil. Do what is right. Follow the Savior. No government, laws, or people can stop evil. Righteousness is the only antidote. 

Whose side are you on? The one that will ultimately lose? Or the Lord's side? Now is the time to decide. 

I have this quote, but the best source I can find for it is John Bytheways book, "When Times are Tough" on page 30 and 31 and this blog post by Emily Freeman

"The future of this world has long been declared; the final outcome between good and evil is already known. There is absolutely no question as to who wins because the victory has already been posted on the scoreboard. The only really strange thing in all of this is that we are still down here on the field trying to decide which team’s jersey we want to wear!" ~ Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Despite all of the tragedy, there is hope. We must seek it and seek the goodness. There are good things that come out of disaster and awful circumstances. Pure and simple acts of love, charity, faith, and serving one another. There are heroes fighting to save others (in more ways than one).  More people raising their voices to God. People cherishing their families more--hugging their children tighter. I find myself praying for relief from the wickedness of the world. I worry for my kids and what they are facing and will have to face. So, I teach them.

We teach them right and wrong.
We teach them to do good.
We help them know how to pray.
We talk about serious topics and situations.
We try to set positive examples.
We read and study the scriptures.
We try to show them the way to Christ.

They can't find their way on their own. They need to be taught. They need to have boundaries. They need to be loved.

© Wendy 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

In The End, It's Worth It. (Right?)

Our 6 kids have been absolutely bonkers lately. I wish I could blame it on the holidays, but it's not even that because they've been crazy for months

Sundays are a bit more nuts because we have church (which is a whole different story of exhaustion), then we spend the rest of the day together. By dinner time, they're so goofy, it's hard to even bless our food without giggles. Mom and Dad are frustrated and losing sanity (if we had any to start with), and the kids cannot gain control of themselves. 

So, tonight, we were recommitting ourselves to read our scriptures (again--really, we're going to finish it eventually--and then start again). It was painful to get through. Not because we don't like to read scriptures, but because of the constant shoosh-ing, stopping of fights, and trying to get them to pay attention, all while also juggling our scriptures and kids on top of and next to us.

We read and discussed one chapter, put the kids in bed way past bedtime, and we are now committed to waking up early to do it all again. Here's hoping it won't be as insane as tonight was.

But, it will be worth it.

I have faith that if we are diligent and keep working to raise our kids right, teach them right from wrong-- regardless of what may be 'popular,' do our scripture reading and Family Home Evening, then our family will be blessed. Even if our kids lose their way at some point in their lives, I am confident that they will find their way back. I also have hope that by instilling a strong foundation now, they will be able to withstand the trials, temptations and problems later in life. 

And so, we press onward.

Even though this is hard right now--the craziness and chaos and all else that goes with having 6 young children, I wouldn't have it any other way (well, I lie a little--I'd like to have a clean house, some silence, and a shower by myself without someone coming into tattle or cry).

© Wendy 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Part II, Piece of the Puzzle

Since the last post about TD and his personality and concerns I have had, we have done some more testing.

Asperger's: He's in the normal range, so it's not that. However, the school psychologist did agree that he had some OCD tendencies. He also thought that perhaps he may have a higher intelligence, or IQ, that may also be a part of why he has some of these quirky characteristics.

Then the special ed teacher proceeded over the next few weeks to test his IQ. The results are quite interesting. His overall AVERAGE IQ is 113--high average (average range is from 85-115). However, there was one section that he scored fairly low in, which brings the average down. Basically, much of what he had to verbalize, was lower, mostly within average range. The majority of his scores were in the 120's-140's, including such aspects as memory, visual and auditory processing, and all mathematics. 

He had a exceptional score in the Visual-Auditory Learning. For the task, he was given picture symbols and was told what they represented (example a picture of a flag was a cowboy). This is kind of like having a secret code, but he didn't have a key to refer to. The special ed teacher said that most kids start having errors after 4 or 5 pages, but TD only had 1 error. His score was 163, very superior range.

Also notable, he does multiplication--like not memorized, but actually understands it. He is only in 2nd grade, by the way. They don't start teaching multiplication until 3rd grade--and that's more or less memorizing facts. He was given problems like 13 x 7 and he verbally worked through it, "So that is 7 13's so, 13, 26, 39, ...). Most kids can count by 2's, 5's, 10's, etc... but by 13's? Even for an easier one, 8 x 5, he didn't do eight 5's, he did five 8's--"8, 16, 24, 32, 40." So, no surprise that his scores in broad mathematics, math calculation skills, math reasoning, and brief mathematics are also very superior.

I don't know what the future holds for this little guy, but, I think he can pretty much do anything he'd like to do.

All of that being said, I've also been attending "Multiple Intelligence" class at the elementary school. A man, Howard Gardner, asserts that there are more ways than one measuring "intelligence"--it's not just defined by academics. Everyone has different intelligence. Some may have intelligence in music, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, logical mathematical, naturalist or existential.  

To take the test yourself, go here: You'll need to scroll down past the descriptions of the different intelligences and then click on the first one that says "self-calculating" if you want it to calculate for you and give you a bar graph to show how your intelligences all line up. You can also go here:

It's very interesting. Knowing what your child's strengths are can help you to be able to use their strengths to bring up their weaknesses--like if they are musical smart, find a way to use music to help them in an area where they struggle. Or, TD is very much into facts, so I may use facts to help him be able to verbally express more fully.

Knowledge is power. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and other family member's or co-workers strengths and weaknesses can be a real help in understanding each other. I guess this goes with my discussion about talents as well--we can all compliment each other with our skills, talents, strengths, etc. That's the way it should be--everyone helping one another, and working to improve out weaknesses through our strengths.

© Wendy 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top 10 Bedtime Excuses My Kids Use

1. I need a drink!

2. My ______ is hurting!

3. I forgot to ________ !

4. I can't sleep.

5. But, I'm not tired.

6. Can I just stay up until ____pm?

7. I need to tell you one more thing.

8. I'm scared.

9. Can I read in my bed?

10. ________ won't stop talking!!

Feel free to comment and add your own excuses your kids tell you!

© Wendy 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Recently, in our Sunday School class, part of our discussion was about miracles. Do they happen today? (YES. Yes they do!)

I have actually thought a lot about this. I had this similar question posed to me by a friend of mine once--about how miracles seemed to occur on a larger scale is scriptural times, but don't seem to now. 

I think miracles happen every day, some on a larger scale, some on a smaller scale.

Big miracles that we know about in history/scripture:
  • God, the Father, and Jesus appearing to Joseph Smith when he was 14 years old (read about it here).
  • Jesus healing the sick and disbled, raising the dead, and feeding 5000 people with 5 loaves and two fish (all of which have accounts in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).
  • What about the atonement? I'd say that was pretty amazing--a feat which only a person who was part human and part God could not only do for all of us, but also endure such an intense magnitude of pain.
  • The resurrection--never in history has anything like that happened before or since the resurrection of Christ--dying, and then rising again after three days.
  • Multiple occurences of angels appearing in the scriptures.
  • Moses parting of the Red Sea

You might be thinking, sure, but what about today? Do miracles happen today?

I think there are miracles all around us, some of which we take for granted, some of which we dismiss as lucky, or a coincidence, like:

  • Healthy babies born every day. With all of the intricacies of the human body (organs, mucsles, nerves, brain, bones, etc.) there is so much that could go wrong, but usually much more goes right.
  • Premature babies. I know of many babies that have been born between 20 and 30 weeks--about 3 months early--and they have lived. Not without trials and tribulations, but they have made it through. Miracles.
  • Plants and flowers--have you ever noticed how intricate they are? Do you really think it was "by chance" these came about and grew as perfectly and beautiful as they did?
  • What about all of the different species--animals, insects, spiders (now, I have heebie jeebies)? There are so many different forms and they are each so unique. Big bang theory? Not a chance.
  • I think of all of the miracles that happen during natural or other disasters. Babies that have been found miles from where they were lost--hungry, but unscathed. People who have survived in horrible circumstances. Lives that have been preserved. 
  • I personally have witnessed the hand of God in healing the sick and afflicted through Priesthood blessings
  • People surviving terrible diseases like cancer. Defying odds.
  • How many times have you seen what looks like a horrific accident, yet the people survived?

Does an angel have to appear to denote a miracle?  Does it have to be something that does not happen every day? I don't think so. Look around you.

There are very real miracles all around us, daily. Look for them. Seek them out. You will begin to notice them more and more. Start here:

YOU are a miracle.


What else?

I have 6 children--each a beautiful and wonderful miracle. If you have kids, look in their eyes. Could such a creation be merely science? No way!! Sweet miracles.

Go outside--feel the warmth of the sun, feel the breeze, see the bees and the birds, the trees and grass and flowers. Hear the sounds.

Taste different fruits and vegetables--not only are they miracles, but so is your sense of taste! 

I love the song, "My Heavenly Father Loves Me." It talks about all of the things God has created for us, and how it denotes that He loves Us. I also believe these are all miracles-- ways he pours out His love upon us.  You can listen/watch on Youtube this song put to pictures, and of course, sang by my favorite group, Mercy River. 

God is a God of miracles, and I think that those who fail to recognize miracles and see God's hand in all things, are in a sad state of unbelief, and thus will have a lack of miracles in their life--but perhaps only because they refuse to see and acknowledge them.

Could you argue that some of these things have logical, scientific explanations? Yes, but don't you also think God uses such natural laws to do His work? Yep. What I have written may not be popular in today's society, but it doesn't make it any less true.

Study it, search for it, find the miracles for yourself. God is a God of miralces who loves us and is aware of us and our needs. We can converse with God on a daily basis through prayer. What a miracle that is--right?! 

© Wendy 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Day in the Life--With Kids

I know you've all been waiting for this one: True life captions from our actual life. These really all happened. Some are funny, some are tender, some are, well, painfully honest. I hope you at least get a laugh out of it! You'll probably notice that one particular child happens to be in the center of most of these stories.

When I say my kids are 'climbing the walls', I just may mean it literally.

On rare occasions, you can get compliments about your children in public. One such occurrence happened while we were at dinner at a restaurant. Now, this was AFTER getting pictures taken. Three separate people (two patrons, one server) complimented us on our “well-behaved” children and our “beautiful family”. Ah, it’s the little things. 

Normal crazy time. :) cute (insert sarcasm here)! My 2 and 4 year olds were playing so cute together downstairs! ... Too bad that involved about 10 Board games, 2-3 puzzles, various playing cards and two bags of Christmas bows all mixed together on top of the pool table.... 

KM had a ball under her shirt--her "baby". It fell out and she said, "My baby fall out!" I asked her if it was a boy or a girl and she said, "No, it a ball!" I should have known. 

If you are missing something and have kids, go check in their bike seat. Just found the TV remote in TD's seat of his bike. We had been missing it for several days. 

KM and TD have a ritual of watching CD and SB walk to the bus stop while yelling “bye” the whole time. Now, my 2 year old yells after her 6 and almost 8 year old siblings to "watch out for cars" as well. 

And this is really how KM fell asleep.

KM was saying the prayer for lunch today. I wonder what exactly the "cackle" she made in the middle of her prayer meant would help if the words she were saying were not in broken English. 

Little 6 year old, SB, started crying on her way to the bus stop. I asked what's wrong and she said "I'm really going to miss you while I am at school." What a sweet girl. 

Nothing says "I love you, mom" like getting pooped on by your newborn. 

First thing done this morning: made juice and gave KM a cup full. Second thing done: Cleaned up the remaining full pitcher of juice from in, under and in front of the fridge. 
While doing some kind of balancing act on her chair and table whilst holding her cup of smoothie, KM had a miscalculation.

I was telling CD that he didn't have to get baptized if he didn't want to (in our church, we get baptized at the age of 8). And he was surprised. And I said it's your choice whether you want to or not. He then said to me, "And Mom, just to let you know, I want to get baptized." Love these moments.

What you can't tell from this picture is that there actually is a frisbee under KM's bottom.

I was telling my husband all of the "wonderful" things KM had done that day, one of which was getting into/destroying some of my make-up, and she said "Naughty KM. Get in Mommy's make-up." Well, at least she knows. 

KM loves to bring up all of her ouches—weeks after they have happened. One particular time, she had a small scrape on her back from falling off of a wagon. She came up to her daddy and said, “I have a owie on my back.” You do? “Yeah. I need to go to the chiropractor.” Then I got accused of coaching her (which I didn’t!) 

I'm raising readers--in case you couldn't tell. 

One night SB was crying in her bed. I asked her why she was crying. She said, “I’m just sad that all of the people that were alive before Jesus won’t be able to come alive again!” I told her that they will because everyone will be resurrected. “They will?!” she says as she immediately stops crying. 

SB was crying in her bed once again, sad that she won’t be able to take all of her things with her when she dies. And, she will miss her things. 

After CJ was born, we were leaving the hospital and one of the nurses was holding TD’s hand as we walked out. She asked, “Are you 4?” and Ty answered, “Yes, and I am going on a mission!” I love the growing testimonies of children! 

So I made sandwiches for dinner--ham, cheese, tomato. (The hubby was gone and the kids wanted that.) KM just wanted a peanut butter sandwich. Well, then she hands me her top slice of bread and asks for mustard. I tell her no--that's gross. I give her another slice of bread with mustard on it, which she promptly adds to her peanut butter sandwich. "Yummy!" she says. 

After finishing finals week, my sister, her friend, and SB and friends’s daughter went out for dessert. After dessert, we get in the car to go (our girls in their pajamas), SB exclaimed, “Are we going to the opera now?” 

You ever have one of those nights? I guess TD has.

KM was throwing around her attitude and I remarked that I was scared of what she was going to turn into as she gets older. SB, trying to be funny, says, "I think she's going to be a mean Mom like you!" Ouch. She did come up after being tucked in, with tears in her eyes, to say that she was sorry and didn't mean it. 

I had been doing the laundry all day...just found a FRISBEE in the washer. That was a first. 

KM: "Daddy, I want a spider to eat Mommy!" 

I was talking to TD tonight about his day and I told him I thought he was a neat kid. He put down his drink and was hugging me and I asked him what he was thinking. His answer? "Crocodiles eat us." 

Last night we were reading scriptures and we let CD and SB read some. We were amazed to hear SB (6 years old) to breeze over words like wherefore, abridgment  Lamanites, prophecy, revelation, thereof, and remnant (well, okay, she said rememnant, but still!). 

I was waking up KM this morning for preschool and she said, while rubbing her eyes, "My eyes are broken!" Later she told Dad the same thing and added, "Yeah, and I fix them!" 

Apparently, TD has much faith in his mother's healing skills. He said to me yesterday (while being told no more candy!), "I don't care if I get sick, you can feel me better!"  

KM just came upstairs and said to me, "Mom I can't go to sleep because my hair is all crappy." 

Probably the cutest way to start your morning? Getting raspberries blown on your arm and stomach by your one-year-old and listening to him giggle.  

CJ asleep. Comfy, no?

Last night tucking in the girls:
KM: "Mom, how come we never watch pee and poo?"
Me: "What? How come we never watch pee and poo? Because it's gross."
KM: "But I want to watch pee and poo."
SB: (giggling) "She means Winnie the Pooh."
Me: "Oh! You mean Winnie the Pooh?" 
K: "Yeah. We never watch that." 

KM: "Mom, rub my forehead and see what happens."
Me: (rubbing it)
KM: "Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. See? It hurts inside my forehead."
This girl kills me. 

SB (crying): "Mom, I'm just feeling sad because I don't want CJ to grow up." 

SB (7yrs): "KM won't play with me. She just keeps walking away."
KM (4yrs): "Well, Sorry."
SB: "You're acting like a teenager, KM!" 

Partners in crime, partners in nap time.

Me (attempting to get out of the car while VERY pregnant): "Ugh. I'm so fat."
CD (my oldest): "Well, at least you're not fat in real life."

KM-isms while at McDonald's playing (for TD's birthday):
KM: "I'm getting tired from this busimess." (pronounced with the 'm')
She comes up, grabs an apple slice and says, "I need this to keep me going". Now for the no words obscenity: She got a Zooble (some little toy that is a ball, but turns into a pet-looking thing). She was storing it in her stretchy pants--at first on her side, but then it ended up in front. Yep, she looked like she was male. 

KM: "Is this dress my size?"
Me: "Yes, but you need to wear a shirt under it because it's not modest." (sleeveless and practically shows her chest).
KM: "I can do whatever I want with myself!" 

KM: "When Dad saved you, did you like him?"
Me: "Saved me from what?"
KM: "Uh, the tower."
SB: "KM thinks everyone is a princess before they get married."
I'd like to think I live a fairy-tale life! 

After buying a new bathing suit, I had the girls try them on to make sure they fit well and appropriately. KM said, "I look cute, and I look modest!" (Whew! What I'm teaching is sinking in!)
We like to do fun things--this is us after winning 2nd place in the Red Wagon Parade for the boat and water skiing float we made.

We were talking about how SM is losing all of her hair. CD says that pretty soon she isn't going to be a mammal any more. 
Me: "A mammal???" 
Cooper: "Yeah, mammals have hair." 
Too funny, my kids. Too funny. 

Me: "TD, why are you wearing shorts?"
TD: "Because it's Spring."
Yeah, but it's still below freezing!!! 

Kindergarten registration today for KM. She, of course, knew everything she was supposed to (and CJ knew half of it too--kept answering the correct letters on the flashcards. So hilarious!). 

CD photo-bombing SB's picture before her first ballet class.

You know how little girls always undress their Barbies or other dolls, but can't redress them? It's the same with boys, except they take the tires off of their cars and can't get them back on. 

My 7 year old just rode his bike off the back of a trailer. I'm not sure which hurts worse: his pride--or his face? 

Just a few minutes is all it takes for a 3 year old to take his poopy diaper off and take his 1 year old sister's diaper off and to make a holy mess. I'll let you imagine the rest. 

I was just helping CJ say the prayer at lunch--telling him what to say and he repeats--but he slipped in a line of his own: "Help my butt to get better." 

I was changing CJ's diaper and he says, "Look at my Big Black Butt!" ???? Where do they get these things?? Only thing I can think is it was because of the ahem, mess, on his bottom? 

KM's blanket + hot fireplace.

I'm officially old. KM says: "Mom, we're you alive when this happened? It was WAY back then."  

So funny! SM won't drink her cup, go to sleep, etc without her hand in someones shirt--it's so odd. But, right now, she is walking around drinking her sipper cup with her hand down her own shirt!  

4 of my kids are downstairs right now watching two spiders victimize an earwig. Listening to them is hilarious. One of the things I heard was them chanting "Fight, Fight, Fight, Fight!"

  This note was written by TD when he was 4 years old. Can you read it? He was mad that he couldn't have pop, thus, "Giv Me Pop."

My 7 year old is quite the puzzle. When I was forcing him to read his take-home book, he informed that he doesn't like reading "made-up" stories, he only like real ones. He's a non-fiction man. Add this to the fact that he does not want to be in orchestra or choir, and I'm thinking I have a very left-brained child. 

Thought we had lost our cat to predators, when in reality the predator was a certain 3 year old boy who locked him into a tool compartment beneath the camper... filthy and hungry. All is better now.

So last night, while trick or treating, my kids were crazy loud. Keeping with the theme, I told them they were going to wake the dead zombies. This worried KM. She later said, 
"Mom, I'm feeling ominous." Ominous? 
SB: "I don't even know what that means." 
KM: "It means that you feel like something is coming or that something scary is going to happen." 

What happens when you leave a 1 year old in your bathroom for one minute? She eats your eye shadow. 

CJ: "I'm scared of the Tookie Guy."
Me: "The Cookie Guy?" 
CJ: "Yeah, the Tookie Guy. He comes in our house and disappears."
Me: "Why are you scared of him?"
CJ: "Because he scares me." (me still trying to figure out who he is talking about)
Me: "Why? Does he take all of your cookies?"
CJ: "Yeah." 
Me: "Does he hurt anyone?" 
CJ: "No. He takes all the tookies and he scares me. Monster Tookie Guy."
Me: "Cookie Monster? From Sesame Street? That's blue?"
CJ: "Yeah. He scares me. He comes in our house."
Hmmm....Sesame Street Monsters. Scary, indeed. 

That's us above. We're all crazy, but I love it. I wouldn't trade my kids for anything. I am so grateful to be entrusted with these little spirits!

© Wendy 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Goodness that We Are

I've been pondering on talents or things I am good at recently--okay, it was because I was actually dreaming about it a couple of nights ago--weird, right?

 In my dream, I was walking with a past teacher/friend (because I am a nerd and always thought of my teachers as friends) from high school. We were chatting and walking through some fictitious school (that has made appearances in several of my dreams recently). She pointed out a place in a grand hallway and said, 

"That is where you'll be performing in Les Mis."
 I said, "Yeah, I doubt that. Maybe in the chorus or something." 
She looked at me questioningly. 
I responded, "I have realized I'm not really that good at music and theatre, but I am good at writing. I really love it."

The morning after this dream, I went to church and the Relief Society lesson hit on talents, strengths and weaknesses, and not judging others or comparing ourselves to each other. I had a thought that I shared with the class.

We shouldn't compare our weaknesses to someone else's strengths. We all have weaknesses, we all have strengths. We compliment each other and it is through working together that we can achieve greatness.

Think about it.

What if we were all good at the same thing? You'd have billions of doctors and no entertainers. Or hoards of bankers, lawyers, and accountants, but no teachers, writers, or athletes. Wouldn't that be a terribly unbalanced world? Wouldn't it be...well...awful? 

I think God gave us unique talents and gifts that we could use to bring to pass His plan. To do His work. To work together to build up His kingdom on earth. We are to help each other. Lift each other. Strengthen and inspire one another. Some of us do it through music, some through writing, some through healing. Some people are great friends or communicators. Some can build buildings, or foresee the needs of others. 

Here's some things I have realized I am not good at (really, I am just coming to myself and being real): 
Picturing things spatially.
Music/acting (though I am trying and I am not terrible, but certainly not gifted)
(I know there is tons more, but I can't think right now...I'll probably add some later as I think of them.)

However, I am realizing some things I can do:
I cook good, healthy food (I make awesome whole grain bread--come over, I'll make you some).
I am a communicator.
I really like writing (can you tell?).
I have a good knowledge on how to heal the human body.
I have a really strong desire to help people come closer to Christ.

This all made me think...shouldn't we then help people to recognize their strengths? Shouldn't we help our children discover what they are good at? Can't we all work together, sharing our strengths, to make the world, literally, a better place? 

There is good in each of us. I really believe that God blessed us all with special gifts and talents that He knew we would use for good. Helping. Comforting. Healing. Uplifting. Inspiring. We need not dwell on all we can't do, but find the things we can do, and use them to benefit those around us.

Therein, lies the true gift. 

© Wendy 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gimme All the Candy!!!


The time of year when we essentially tell our kids to throw out the rules of  "do not talk to strangers" and "do not take candy from strangers"
And we let them dress up like things that we wouldn't let them watch on TV (well, at least we don't watch scary things at our house, aside from ET that is).

So, stranger danger is void. Being scary is good. And eating way too much candy is acceptable. I am not sure which part of this is the worst. I'm betting that if I have kids up in the night sick or having nightmares from eating too much candy, that will be the worst. Am I right? 

You're only a kid once, I suppose. And they love this candy-getting holiday for sure. It is so much fun to get dressed up--even adults do it, but, sometimes on a whole different scale. 

I find myself wondering if adults see Halloween as an excuse to dress completely inappropriate. Really? I mean, I'm all for creative costumes, themed costumes, but if you're out to dress like a, well, um...'lady of the evening', well, please put some clothes on--children are watching (okay maybe they're just staring at their candy, but I am still unimpressed and disturbed)! 

Back to the matter at hand...lots of candy was acquired tonight, mostly not from strangers. Of course they are dressed scary, but they are the cutest scary I have ever seen. Love these 6 kids more than anything.

Funny occurrence while trick or treating: 

My kids were being crazy loud. Keeping with the theme, I told them they were going to wake the dead zombies. This worried Kate.

Kate: "Mom, I'm feeling ominous."Me: "Ominous?"
Sydney: "I don't even know what that means."
Kate: "It means that you feel like something is coming or that something scary is going to happen."


The scary characters we had this year were a zombie, a pretty witch, an Iron Man zombie, a cat, a pit crew man for Lightning McQueen, and another wee witch. Aren't they precious?!?! 

Happy Halloween! 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Whiplash We Call Motherhood

Eleven years ago (plus 9 months, if you include pregnancy), I physically became a mother. I say physically, because I feel that most women, if not all, possess qualities that are mother-like even if they do not have children of their own. If we use the definition that I was introduced to, it would look something like this:










Our first baby was born on this day, 11 years ago. 

CD was adorable with his brown hair and chubby baby body. After nine hours of an induced labor (including a couple of hours of pushing), 1 day after his due date, our big bundle of ... well, joy, (ahem)... was born. 

Wait! What? I thought birth was some beautiful experience (which it is, just not the way you hear). I thought you were supposed to bring home this perfect baby, and your natural mothering skills would jump in, and you would spend your days in bliss. Flowers blooming in all the rooms you enter with your baby. Soft, peaceful, sweetness, music playing, relaxing and love abounding. 

Someone must have confused having a new baby with a day at the spa.

A whopping 9 pounds and 3 ounces and a 15 inch head circumference left unchangeable marks and scars upon my body. A third degree tear and stretch marks all over and a forever stretched out abdomen. Next, breast feeding troubles (flat nipples, plus a misguided baby tongue = cracks and blood = nipple shield for the entirety of the year that he nursed). Welcome to your new body! 

He was also jaundiced and had to spend a few days living in a bili light suit case wearing coverings for his eyes. I particularly disliked this because when you have a new baby, you just want to snuggle the little one. We thought our house looked like a drug house from the constant odd glowing shining through the windows. 

This was not the last of the trials. We had messy diapers that required a wardrobe change about every time he had a diaper change. We experienced a colicky baby that had reflux and woke up to nurse every hour and then would spit most of it up.

Literally, feedings every hour, day and night. 

My husband and I were delirious. 

I would wake up panicked searching the bed for the baby (when he was in his bassinet). I was up feeding the baby and because he was fussing, my husband sat up in his bed, put the pillow over his shoulder and began patting  it. I asked him what he was doing. "I'm burping the baby!" "Babe, I have the baby." I also would gently rock my husband at night when the baby would start to cry. 

I cried. 

I felt inadequate.

I had no idea what I was doing.

I am sad to admit that once while this baby who was in pain was crying (which he did constantly), I banged my head repeatedly into the wall while yelling for him to 'shut up'. Not one of my shining moments. We started to get used to our new life and when he was about 10 months old, we discovered we were to be blessed with another baby. It's usually after it is too late, you decide it probably isn't the best time to have another baby. 

No turning back. 

CD had gotten sick, and wasn't ever getting all the way better. This was before my more holistic days, so there was a constant string of antibiotics and then nystatin to get rid of the yeast infections. He was not getting better. 

Christmas morning, when he was 14 months old (I was about 4 months pregnant), we were visiting my family in Phoenix. My husband and I were sleeping, but quickly woke up when we heard an odd gurgling sound, which I suspected was diarrhea--since that was a constant. I got up to change him, but his body was twitching and his mouth was making that awful sound. 

A seizure. 

We took him to the ER where they gave him drugs to stop the seizures, though he kept seizing. We were flown to the children's hospital via helicopter. By now, he had been seizing for an hour or more. They did a spinal tap, x-rays, an MRI, blood tests, and an EEG. He did not have meningitis or epilepsy. It was decided it was febrile seizures--seizures that occur when the body's temperature gets too high, which I learned for our son was about 103° F. 

Upon returning home, we met with our doctor and did a stool study (yep, about as fun as it sounds!) and found that he had Rotavirus (which they now vaccinate for, but I have found it does not do much good). We eventually got him doing better, but he did continue to have seizures (until he was about 5 years old) including one where he stopped breathing (9-11, ambulance, yay!); we were given a prescription to prevent the seizures, and eventually weaned him off. This was probably the scariest and most stressful time in our lives. 

He outgrew these episodes. Luckily, none of our other kids have had one, as it is hereditary. As tough of a baby as he was, he is a really solid, good kid now.  

Since then, we have had 5 more children. They are beautiful, smart, creative, talented, thoughtful, and, of course, unique.

 In order:
Boy, CD, (9 lbs 3 oz.)11 years old
Girl, SB, (9 lbs 6 oz.) 9 years old
Boy, TD, (8 lbs 8 oz.) 7 years old
Girl, KM, (8 lbs 7 oz.) 5 years old
Boy, CJ, (8 lbs 0 oz.) 3 years old
Girl, SM, (8 lbs 10 oz.) 1 year old 

Our family about a year ago taken by Nicole Christiansen Photography.

I wouldn't trade these days for all of the money in the world (okay, well, some of the days I probably would trade). Days are long, and nights are sometimes hard. But, as a scripture in the Book of Mormon states, there must be opposition in all things. If not, we would not know the bitter nor the sweet; we could not know the sorrow nor the joys; we couldn't understand the chaos nor the calm; we have to have the frustrations to have the laughter

Though motherhood is often a shock, a surprise, a rude awakening, or a baptism by fire, I feel that it is also a grand school that is more complete than any other school I know. I have learned to be more caring, how to survive on little sleep (thank you Dr. Pepper), how to be a doctor and a nurse, a tutor, a teacher, a maid, a chef, a mediator, a healer (of wounds, spirit, health, etc), a friend, a counselor, a problem solver, and, obviously a parent--though I am still learning that. 

I exercise more faith. 
I pray harder and with more intent. 
I try to listen to promptings more closely.

What other job in the world allows you to develop and learn and use as many skills as that of a "mother"?

I would daresay, none. No other job can match the magnitude, dedication, and learning to be found in the role of a mother. Nothing can replace a mother in the life of a child.

I am grateful to all of the mothers in my life, the ones I have personally observed, the ones who have been bonus moms to me, and the love and advice and understanding of good friends and mothers in my life. And, of course, my own mom, from whom I learned much. 

© Wendy  2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Am A Mormon. I Know It. I Live It. I Love It.

For various reasons, the church I belong to, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a.k.a. "Mormons", a.k.a. LDS Church, has been in the media quite often. I have seen discussions from various friends on facebook, some of which are favorable, some of which are not. Some things are false. Some things are true. I do my best to clarify, explain, and help my friends understand my beliefs (if they really want to know, that is). I would like to state some obvious facts:

I am LDS.

I am a woman.

I am happy.

I am married.

I have children--six of them.

I grew up a member of the LDS Church, and was baptized (by my own choice) when I was 8 years old.

I am NOT oppressed. 

The last fact is what I would like to focus on: I am a woman who is LDS and a stay at home mother and I am NOT oppressed. Are you shocked? I hope not. For some reason, many people who have left the Church, or those in the media somehow have the notion that women are lesser beings in the LDS faith. 
This is not true. 

I heard Sheri Dew speak recently. If you do not yet know her, she served in the General Relief Society Presidency of the Church (which means that she was a leader for all of the women of the church all over the world) and is currently the President of Deseret Book (for the past decade or so). Sheri has been asked how it feels to be an 'oppressed woman of the church'. She has answered in telling them the position she has held in the church (the one I mentioned above), the fact that she is the president of the Church owned book store--Deseret Book. Going further, she declares that women all over the world serve in leadership positions over the women of the church, the young women of the church and the children of the church. We speak in church, we pray in church. We teach the doctrine. We preach the gospel in proselytizing missions. In the temple, women officiate in certain ordinances. This wasn't just something started recently to be politically correct. In the 1830's Joseph Smith's wife Emma received a revelation from the Lord when she was commanded to expound on the scriptures. In 1842, Joseph Smith was guided to start the Relief Society (which is now the largest women's organization in the world).This was when women could not vote, could not own property, if they earned money, it belonged to their husband, when women were basically one rung higher than prisoners on the social scale! This was not forward thinking on the part of the Joseph Smith, it was prophetic. Oppressed? No way. 

I, too, have served in such leadership roles, and will continue to do so. For instance, I have been a primary teacher, a Sunday school teacher, the compassionate service leader (in charge of orchestrating care for members, whether it is meals, child care, or house cleaning when someone is struggling, or had surgery, a new baby, or death in the family, etc.), cub scout leader, a member of the primary presidency (the children's organization), and also served in youth presidencies while I was a young woman. I don't say this to 'toot my own horn', but to help those who wonder about LDS women to understand how each woman/girl is an important and vital role to how the Church operates, not oppressed.

Sheri Dew related a story of President Gordon B. Hinckley, a Prophet of God (he passed away in 2008). Often he was questioned about the women of the church usually in the context of them (us) being oppressed. One famous answer he gave was in the year 2000 at a National Press Club in Washington D.C. After a brief opening statement, President Hinckley stated, "People wonder what we do for our women. I will tell you what we do: We get out of their way and look with wonder at what they are accomplishing." I think that says it all right there! 

Why don't the women hold the Priesthood? I don't know. What I do know, is that Christ is the head of this Church. Not the congregations. Not the bishops or stake presidents. Not even the Prophet or Apostles. Jesus Christ is the head of this Church. He makes the decisions. He decides how he operates His Church--He decides, He presides. I believe that we can have a personal witness of this truth, along with any other questions that we have. We can know for ourselves. We are encouraged to pray and seek and study for answers. Priesthood keys are just as valid for women as they are for men. Both men and women are eligible for exaltation. Women have just as much access to the power of the priesthood as men do. President Joseph Fielding Smith said, "The blessings of the priesthood are not confined to men alone. These blessings are also poured out upon...all faithful women of the Church...The Lord offers to His daughters every spiritual gift and blessing that can be obtained by His sons." (Improvement Era, June 1970, 66.)

Women are vital to the church and have key roles. Bruce R. McConkie said, "Where spiritual things are concerned, as pertaining to all of the gifts of the Spirit, with reference to the receipt of revelation, the gaining of testimonies, and the seeing of visions, in all matters that pertain to godliness and holiness and which are brought to pass as a result of personal righteousness—in all these things men and women stand in a position of absolute equality before the Lord." (This address was delivered at the dedication of the Nauvoo Monument to Women, 29 June 1978.)

Thank you Sheri Dew for putting all of these thoughts and feelings I have had into words. I have summarized a lot of what she said, while also adding my own thoughts. I do not doubt that I am a member of the Lord's Church upon the earth today. He is my Savior and Redeemer. I trust in His ways. I have faith in His will. I do not blindly follow, I seek answers and I study it out for myself.  I hope that if you have questions regarding this, you can ask me or someone else you trust, pray about it to know for yourself, or study reliable sources such as or Or, contact your local LDS Missionaries and they would be more than happy to answer any and all questions.

© Wendy 2012