Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Favorite Way to Unwind

My favorite way to unwind is to talk to Derek.  After all the kids are in bed I like to tell him all of the trivial little details of my day; what I liked, what made me cry, what was funny, how tired I am.  He "gets" to hear it all.  It makes my day feel more worthwhile somehow to have someone listen to me talk about it.  It gives me a chance to complain, or to ask questions and get ideas.  I look forward to it every day.

I ran into a bit of a difficulty however when Derek was the Bishop.  He would come home on Sundays so tired that he would try to listen, but he would fall asleep, or not be able to focus.  I came to understand that on Sundays, he needed me to be okay without unloading on him.  I just couldn't quite remember how!  When I was young, a journal worked pretty well, but that wasn't enough.  I wanted to feel heard, and understood.

I have prayed since I was younger than I can remember, but I wanted to talk to someone I could see and who I could hear.  However, I soon discovered that prayer was my very best option.  On those long Sundays I came to know without a doubt something that I had, perhaps, not understood before.  Heavenly Father is never too tired, or too busy to listen to me.  I am His child and am important to Him.  He doesn't mind hearing trivial details, and He doesn't find me to be a bother.  He doesn't get angry at me over feelings that I might be angry with me about.  He is patient, loving, comforting, and kind, and while I did not see Him or hear His voice, He did send help, comfort, and peace.

This experience was kind of like being 12 all over again and discovering that, even if nobody else seemed to understand what I was going through, Heavenly Father did.  I still love telling Derek all the details of my day, and having him hear, and understand, but I am thankful for the strengthened testimony of prayer I received during a challenging time.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Help . . . As Close As a Prayer

When Derek was Bishop there were Sundays when he would be gone from around 6:30 a.m. until 5:30 or 6 in the evening.  He was busy fulfilling his calling, and that left me to take care of responsibilities at home.  I have six children.  I worried often that somehow I would not be enough, and they would not like church, or would not gain the testimonies they need because somehow I was lacking.  I wrote in my journal about a couple of those hard Sundays when I was given the blessed reminder that there is help that is as close as a prayer.

After what I called in my journal a "fairly normal day of church and choir" I talked about trying to go over Personal Progress with my girls, and working on Faith and God with Connor (both programs from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to help children develop their faith and testimonies).  Tia was supposed to help me with dinner and we didn't have the right ingredients, and everyone, including my little boys, seemed to be around me needing something from me.  I felt overwhelmed, and inadequate.  I retreated.  I went to my room and closed and locked it, and then went in my bathroom, turned on our rather loud fan, and locked that door too, just for good measure.

I knelt on the little rug on the tile floor and cried, and prayed.  There was just me.  I knew I couldn't help everyone all by myself but I was the only parent available.  I didn't feel smart enough, or have enough energy!  How could I handle all of those eyes looking at me and needing something?  And then to my mind came a reassurance.  Heavenly Father needed Derek elsewhere but He would not leave me alone!  It was like a window opened and I knew exactly what I could do to handle the needs of my children that day.  With that knowledge came the energy to carry out the plan, and more importantly the reminder that I am not alone, and had not been abandoned.  The help I needed was just a prayer away!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A touch of . . . .


You have a loving Father
In heaven up above,
And an older brother
Who taught the world of love.
You have their words in scripture,
So you will know the way
To make it back to heaven
To live with them someday.

 Our home up there is happy,
We're loved and understood,
Our wants and needs are known,
And the feeling there is good.
Our Father's not too busy
To hear our hearts' complaint
Or to listen to our joys
Or to strengthen us when faint.

 And though we are not home now
He'd like us to come back;
He sent His only Son
To give us what we lack.
Our brother made it possible
To bridge the chasm wide,
And if we turn our hearts to Him
He'll help us to His side.

 Father never feels too weary,
Or thinks we matter not
For we are all His children,
And He loves us all a lot.
He lets us choose our own way.
He will not force us home.
He'll let us walk in darkness,
And on thorny pathways roam.

 But He is ever calling
Hoping we will hear
Knowing if we'll stop to pray
That we could feel Him near.
If we will look He'll lead us
From darkness into light
Onto the straight and narrow path
Where we can choose the right.

And if we do not weary
Of traveling the road,
And call upon Him for help
With carrying our load
The path will lead us home
To that peaceful place above
That is never filled with darkness
And is always filled with love.
Poem by Sher

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dads Are Important

One of my favorite Dad pictures -- Derek with Trisa
Today is Father's Day and I thought I'd write about what I think should be an obvious fact;  Dads are important!  How do I know that Dad's are important?  I know because I have a Dad, and I have a husband who is a Dad, and I know many, many awesome Dads, and I know because prophets say so.

One of the ways I have come to know the importance of Dads is by being a Mom.  Being a Mom is exhausting!  I'm a woman, and I already have so many emotions, and then I need to deal with all of the emotions of my children too!  When I'm tired that is really, really hard (at least if it is to be done gracefully, without yelling).  Sometimes I feel like I can't possibly manage, and that's when Derek comes to the rescue.  We have found that it is unusual for us both to be at our wits end at the same time.  Therefore, when I can't handle something, Derek can.  We back each other up.  I honor any single parent who manages their family without a spouse because it is hard.  I know that it is best, if at all possible, to have a Dad and a Mom.  It is really great to have back up.

Dads are pretty great at making money.  Sometimes their jobs stink, and they have to work long hours doing something they may not love, but families need money to live.  Kids grow constantly and are always needing bigger sizes of things.  It's cold in the winter (at least here) and we need heat, and blankets, and we love our soft beds.  There are so many things that are needed and wanted, and it is great that Dads are willing to work hours and hours to provide these nice things for the people they love the most.  Women can earn money too, but families are usually better off because of a Dad who is doing the best he can to take care of his family financially.

Dads are fun.  In my house Dads are the most fun.  I am here all of the time.  I often feel so responsible that I forget to relax and have fun.  Dads often know how to play, and they make family time more fun.  Derek coming home is truly something we look forward to!

Having a good Dad in the home brings such a feeling of security to children -- especially if Dad loves Mom!  Everything is better for a child and a family if there is a good Dad.  I honor the Dads in my life.  My Dad is important to me,  My Dad-in-law is important to me, Derek is important to my children and me, and my nieces and nephews are all blessed by good Dads who are important to them.  I know without any doubt that Dads are Important!

New Things

This is the new floor in the exercise / guest room.   Dan had to be in the picture since he's in the other ones of our new floors.  This floor was the hardest of the four laminate floors we have to put in.  It would not click together properly.  It took two days, (a little over one full day of work) but it looks lovely!

This is Jake sitting in one of the two new camp chairs Derek got for Father's Day.  We lost one of our other chairs, and threw away a broken one.  Derek's is the fancy one on the right.

This is my new car.  It was a bit of a surprise for me.  Derek asked me about it on Thursday and we bought it on Friday.  It is a Toyota Sienna.  The old van will go to Tia in Cedar City so that she and Trisa won't have to take turns being stranded at their apartment.  They've been sharing Derek's old Acura.  Tia is a little bummed that she has to drive a van.  It is not a fun college car.  I will miss it though.  We've had it since Jake was a baby and it has been a good van for me!  The new one is fun and I will adjust quickly.  It's really easy to go too fast in this one!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Connor's 15th Birthday

Connor and his birthday loot.

Connor reading his birthday book.  He finished it at 1:00 a.m. -- Monday early

Connor blowing out a number one candle and five candles.
He's 15, not 6!
Connor had a good birthday.  He often looked tired, but that is because he got home from youth conference the night before and hadn't slept much.  He obviously wasn't too tired to stay up reading long past the time he should have been snoozing!  His dessert was brownie trifle (Brownies, chocolate pudding, and cool whip).  Mmmmm! 
He did spend three hours at church where we told as many people as we could that it was his birthday.  Later, over the phone, Connor enjoyed some singing from Grandma and Grandpa Fuller.  The evening was spent at Grandma and Grandpa Christensen's house where he got to pick songs for us all to sing because it was his birthday.
Connor also got to go on a birthday date with his Grandparents C. on Monday.  This is a favorite tradition.  He loved eating shrimp, bowling, and getting more books at a book store.  Connor can never have too many books!
Connor is a terrific son.  He is helpful, kind, smart, and funny.  We love him.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Comfort in Times of Distress and Grief

The day Jake was born was one of the best days I ever had.  The day after was not.  That is the day that we discovered Jake had a heart defect and he was flown up to Primary Children's Hospital for diagnosis.  Later that night some of our family and friends were gathered in my room at our local hospital to hear what was wrong, and what the plan was to fix it.  Jake had two heart defects that are not usually seen together.  Open heart surgery was necessary to save his life and would be done as soon as possible.

It was so nice to have the support of family and friends who ran over, desiring to help, as soon as they could.  Eventually though, everyone needed to go home including Derek.  Jake's older siblings needed comfort, and I was recovering from surgery and needed rest.  The trick would be, how to get to sleep with all of the events of the day and all of the worries for Jake running through my mind.  I turned off the lights, but was unable to sleep.  I decided that I would try to distract myself by reading a novel.  But, I couldn't concentrate on the novel.  I had also brought my scriptures.  I pulled them out, and I started reading in the New Testament.  I was comforted, and was able to sleep for a little while.

A couple of hours later I was awake and worrying again.  Once more I tried the novel with the same lack of success.  Again, I opened the New Testament and found comfort, and was able to sleep.  Hospitals are noisy, and it was hard to stay asleep, so a couple of hours later, I woke up again.  This time I was smarter and started with the scriptures.  Every time during the night that I woke up, I was able to find peace in the scriptures and sleep again, getting much needed rest.

I have often thought about my experience that night.  Because of it I have a knowledge that the scriptures, particularly the words of our Savior, can bring peace and comfort in times of distress, and grief.  The next few days were hard, but Jake had talented heart surgeons.  His open heart surgery was very successful and he amazed his doctors with his speedy recovery.  I am thankful that Jake came home, and that during the hard, scary time before I knew he would be okay, I was comforted when I turned to the scriptures and the words of our Savior.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Gift of a Friend -- In Honor of My Parents

Twelve was a hard age for me.  I think it might be a hard age for many girls.  I had my own room that year, right next to my older sister's room.  I have been blessed with wonderful siblings, and I had always been good friends with them, and maybe up to this point, with my older sister particularly;  but she was fifteen, and discovering the wonderful world of boys and beauty.  I was young, and felt left out and lonely.  I felt like nobody understood what I was going through.  Woe was me.

Thankfully, I had parents who encouraged me to read the scriptures.  I can still remember reading at night, and my excitement to find out what would happen next as I discovered my hero, Captain Moroni.  I can remember thrilling to the words of the prophet Alma as he wished that he was an angel, and trying to understand why he felt he had sinned in that wish.  But it was while working my way through The Doctrine and Covenants that I discovered that the scriptures answered questions that I had.  It was through these scriptures that I really came to know that Heavenly Father knows me, and what I am going through, and that He is really there -- ready to help.

When I was twelve, the scriptures became my friend.  They were there anytime I needed them, and they reminded me that I am a child of God who has a purpose, who is understood, and who is loved.  By encouraging me to read the scriptures, my parents had given me the gift of a friend -- and so much more.  I honor them, and thank them for that encouragement.  My life has been so much better because of the heroic, faithful, stalwart people I met in the scriptures, and the answers to life's important questions that are found there.

*Pictures from Google Images

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Speak Up!

 I have six children, and I had six C-Sections.  For the first four there was always some problem with my epidural.  Twice I was put to sleep and missed the birth.  Always it took twice as much time and medicine as the doctors expected before I was numb.  When I was awake I was groggy, and miserable.  I tried talking to anesthesiologists before they gave me epidurals, but they didn't seem to listen, and always felt the epidural would work just fine for them.

When I was expecting baby #5 I finally decided I'd had enough, so I found out who the anesthesiologist was going to be, got all of my previous records, and set up a visit.  This Dr. reviewed the records, listened to me, and told me what he thought had been happening.  He suggested an alternative method of performing the epidural and said that giving me less narcotics would make me less sleepy if that's what I wanted.  Hooray! What the Dr. did worked, and I recovered much easier, and even got to hold Jake not long after he was born.

For baby #6 I talked to the anesthesiologist the morning I was going to have surgery.  I had already requested that he do the epidural the way it had been done the time before.  He wanted to do the epidural the way it had been done the first four times.  He thought there would be no problem.  This time I insisted that he do it the other way, and with less narcotics.  Again, the results were what they should have been, and this birth was better than the first four, even though hospital policy kept Derek across the room instead of holding my hand, and Dan away from me for four hours.

The doctors were not bad.  They were doing what had worked for them many times before on other patients.  What I want to say is that nobody is as concerned about what happens to you, or as knowledgeable about how you feel, or have felt, as you are.  It helps to speak up.  Sometimes you even have to be a little forceful about it.
In the end, you will be glad that you did. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cedar City and St. George. Our Vacation Destinations

Last weekend our family had the privilege of seeing Aunt Michelle and Uncle Trent in the play Hello Dolly.  I wish I could have captured on camera the happiness that Michelle exuded while on stage.  It was a pleasure to watch her.   Trent did an excellent job also, and it was fun to try to help point them out to their well behaved (for their age) children who were sitting in front of us.

The rest of the weekend was in St. George with Quinn and Tonya and family, and I pulled out my camera (for a change) to prove we had been there.
Haven and Connor

Dan and R2 D2

 Trevor made by Trevor
 Trevor again.  This was made in his ceramics class.  I would have made a lopsided cup or something.
 My sneaky picture of Weston -- it happened  to also be of his Dad.
My "surreptitious" picture of Trevor.  Does he look familiar?
My apologies to those not pictured, except it's not entirely my fault because they were hiding from the camera.  Special apologies to the thespians because I forgot to take my camera to the play.

Monday, June 3, 2013


I went down to wake up Dan for school one morning and this is what I found.  I ran back upstairs and got my camera and took a picture before I carefully woke him up so he wouldn't bonk his head.

Dan got a Frisbee and two dollars as rewards from the school for being such a good consistent reader this year.  He was pretty happy.


There is Always Help

I find it interesting that there are so many lessons to learn when it comes to getting things done.  Sometimes I have needed to learn to keep my expectations reasonable, or flexible.  Sometimes it has been good to remember that a large task can be done a little at a time.  Other times I have found that if I can just get started, I will at least make progress.  Today I needed to remember that I don't have to do everything all by myself.  There is help!

I have projects I want to do this summer.  I want to finally do the new floor in the guest / exercise room.    There is a lot to be done in the garden, and there are lots of regular chores to take care of.  In contemplating this week I was starting to panic, until I remembered that I have help.  My older children are good at helping my younger ones with chores and that saves me a lot of time.  They can all do things that make my list shorter -- and together we accomplish much more than I can do alone!  Hallelujah for helpers.

Often, when I am feeling overwhelmed, it is because I am thinking I need to accomplish a long list of things all by myself.  I don't like to ask for help -- but help is usually available somewhere if I will just make myself ask for it.  Even if there are no people around to help, there is prayer, and the wisdom of a Father who knows what is needed, and what we can let go.  He knows the best ways to do things, and He is aware of how much energy we do or do not have.  It really is good to remember that there is always help.

*Picture from