Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tell Four People

Image from Google taken at Stuart Falls.

On the very last Saturday in October I went to a Women's Conference.  At the end of the meeting the Stake President spoke and challenged us to share what we had learned with four people.  I thought right then that I would share what I learned on my blog, and at least four people would surely read it.  Well, here it is the very end of December -- it's a good thing I took notes!  I went to 3 classes.

1.  Mothering  I liked this quote:  "There is no way to be a perfect mother, but there are a million ways to be a good one."  The other thing that struck me during that class was this advice she was given when she was struggling with taking her 7 children to church alone: it is most important that the children know she loves being at church and that she loves them being there with her.

I love being at church, but I do wonder sometimes if my children know how much I love them to be there.  In my frustration with their lack of love for church when they were little, or their lack of attention to it sometimes now, do I show my frustration with them instead of my love for them, and my joy that they are there at all?  It is something good to think about!

2.  Tools to arm our children against Pornography.  Remove shame (you are bad for looking at that).  Change that shame, which causes a desire to hide, into guilt (what you saw was bad, choosing to look again was bad, but you are not).  Guilt is a motivator to change.  Shame makes the problem worse.

We are to disperse dark with light AND love.

3:  Depression  There is so much I loved in this talk, and it is too long to write it all, but here are a few points.

There is tragedy in abuse, or anything hard, but the greatest tragedy is the unwillingness to work through it.

We may need to redefine what a good day is for us.  She decided that for her a good day is when she has compassion and charity for her fellow man.  It is not necessary to feel happy, and well, to have a good day, it is only necessary to think and act with compassion and charity.

Finally, she told the story of the Martin handcart company and how someone was criticizing the leaders of the church for allowing the company to leave so late in the season and so unprepared.  A man who had been in the company stood and asked that the criticism stop.  Here is a part of what the man said as cited by President James E. Faust in Refined by Our Trials.

“‘I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.’”
He continues: “‘I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.
“‘Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.’” 1
The woman who taught this class now feels that the depression she has suffered with her whole life is the price that she paid, and continues to pay to come to know God better and she is grateful. It took her a long time, and a lot of work to come to that point, but she is there now, and hopefully all of us who suffer similarly will feel that way one day too.

My Orchestra Adventure

Me in my orchestra dress.
Picture by Dan.
At church I met a fellow flute player named Maudie.  She is very talented, and very sweet.  She offered me the chance to come and play in the Nebo Philharmonic Orchestra for a performance of Elias by Mendelssohn.  I was certainly the least skilled of the 3 flute players, but I loved every moment of being there listening and playing with talented musicians.  Everyone was so kind and welcoming and it was so fun!

After that performance (which happened on my oldest daughter Trisa's birthday in October) I was able to keep playing with the orchestra.  We had a Christmas Concert the day after Thanksgiving.  Derek's parents, Derek, and all of my kids except Tia were able to come.  I loved that too.  Then it was time for orchestra break, but Maudie asked if I wanted to go play with an orchestra for a Messiah Sing-along at the Nu-Skin building in Provo.  That's where the photo below came from (which I took, which is why it is blury).

Me and Maudie
I will not be able to play with the orchestra this coming year because youth night switched to Tuesdays, and I will be there instead of at orchestra -- but it was really great while it lasted and at least I can still keep my orchestra friends, and maybe one day I can join them again in making music.

Cumberland Gap, Cumberland Falls

Derek, Tia and Kayli.  We are standing at an overlook where we could see a little of Virginia, but it was really foggy :-)

Derek, Sherie, Kayli

Derek, Sherie, Tia

Sherie, Derek, Tia, Kayli

Derek and Sherie at Cumberland Falls

Derek and I hiking around Cumberland Gap

Tia, Derek, Kayli at Cumberland Gap National Park

Sherie, Derek, Tia, Kayli (front and I love her face!)

I'm not the selfie queen but this turned out better than usual.



Cumberland Falls State Park

Cumberland Falls.  It was hard to get a picture because when you looked at the falls you were looking toward the sun a bit.

Beautiful Kentucky, Beautiful People

Tia.  Happy on the Roof.

My Sister-in-law Lori (Ray's wife), My Mom, and my Aunt Gail

One of the beautiful cemeteries where we visited family graves.

Kayli in front, Derek and me piled on Tia in the Harlan house where we stayed.

So Pretty!

Aunt Gail behind her mother's gravestone.

Dad on the ladder, and all of our cars in the background.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Up On The Rooftop

For my birthday I asked Derek if he would take me to Kentucky to meet up with my parents and my brother Ray and his wife Lori to help redo my Aunt's roof.  Derek took me, Tia, and Kayli.  We got lots of sore muscles, but we had a wonderful time.  My Aunt Gail, who is my Mom's sister, lives in Harlan where they grew up, and this is the first time Derek or any of my kids have been there.  My Mom enjoyed taking us all on a walking tour, and my Dad drove us around a little.  It is beautiful in Kentucky, and it was so fun to get to see my sweet Aunt, and to have a rare visit with some of my Kentucky cousins.  Here are some pictures my Dad took:

Before we got to Kentucky my cousin Ricky, and hopefully a helper or two, took the old roof off.  That is hard work!  This is my brother Ray by the pile of old roofing materials.

My cousin Ricky was taking off the old chimney when we arrived and patching the roof.

This is (from left to right) my brother Ray, Derek, Tia, Kayli and me.  We were the main work crew for the days we were there.  My 78 year old Dad was naughty because he wanted to be on the roof so badly helping, so he carried quite a few shingles up the ladder.  He even hammered in some nails from the ladder, and gave us instructions, which we sometimes took graciously.  My cousin and his son Raymond helped out with carrying shingles too.

This is Tia, me, Derek and Kayli.  I think that is Ellen and Raymond in the foreground.  Ray was up there working on the other side of the roof.  Ray forgot the nail gun and so we hammered four nails in every shingle.  Ray works really hard and was really the most skilled roofer up there so all turned out well.

This is when we were wrapping up what we could do.  We ran out of shingles, and the store was far enough away from Harlan that by the time my Dad and Ricky got back, there wasn't enough daylight to finish.  My cousins finished up the roof after we left since we headed off the next day to do more vacation like activities.
My Mom really wanted to know what my family thought of Harlan.  We loved the accents.  We tried doing good southern imitations with not much success.  We were thankful for the work Ricky and his helpers did (I'm a little vague on who helped him).  My girls and Derek (and me too!) thought my Aunt and my cousin Gina were really sweet.  They did keep feeding us and giving us water.  They also gave us bandaids for our blisters and made us feel heroic for coming from Utah and working up high on the roof.  We got to talk to Ricky's and Ellen's son Raymond quite a bit and quite enjoyed that because he always seemed so happy to talk to us and help us out.  I enjoyed my five minutes with cousins Mike and Jimmy and wished I could have seen them and other relatives more.  We often had an audience while we worked which was interesting!  We liked our trip to Harlan, and we liked feeling helpful.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jesus' Light and Love

"Let Your Light So Shine" by Simon Dewey
A few years ago my friend Shannon gave me a framed copy of this picture as a gift.  It hangs on my family room wall where I can see it every day.  I love it. 

One morning I was sitting on the couch listening to beautiful church music and looking at this picture.  I was quietly feeling my head ache, and trying to get up a little gumption for my day, and I got to wondering what it would feel like to see Jesus. To just have a moment to be with Him.  As I thought about this it came to me that, in a way, I see Jesus every day.  I see Him in the compassion and love shown to me by my family and friends.  I see Him in the kindness and thoughtfulness shared with me and with my family.  I see Him in the little tender mercies that are there if I pay attention.  Thinking of this made it so I really could feel the thankfulness that I was trying to have that day (It was a Thankful Thursday)

This morning I was reading my scriptures and found a scripture that matched my pretty picture:  "I give unto you to be the light of this people ...let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." 
3 Nephi 12: 14 and 16  

Thanks so much to every one of you for all that you do to share Jesus' love with me, my family, and with all of those around you.  I truly am blessed every day -- and not just on Thursdays!


Monday, December 5, 2016

Top Dog

Dan won the "Top Dog of the Month" award at his school in September
 Below they are getting ready to take a victory lap around the school with the Barnett Bulldog

YAY Dan for being a good student (And he is in this picture if you look hard)

The Post of Birthdays Past

It is time to cram all of the events I haven't written about into the last few posts of the year so that they show up in the correct blog book.  This is my birthday -- at the end of September.  I'm afraid I've forgotten nearly everything except that I was spoiled.  I think I had spinach pizza for dinner like last year, and I had a yummy applesauce cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert.  Mmmmm.
Halloween Socks

A Tai Chi video to try out.

A book I probably finished the next day.

Solar pumpkins that went next to my flowers.
I do remember that we got the newest Jungle Book Movie to watch as a family.  I kind of think I fell asleep for part of it.  Oops.

Trisa's birthday was in October -- not too long after mine.  She lives in Cedar City and wasn't home.  I sent her presents in the mail and hope that she had a happy day there!  She's 26 so I'm pretty sure I am not the 29 Derek kept telling people I was turning!

There is one more birthday to celebrate this year in our family -- but it is not a part of birthday's past, so we'll get to it later.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

No More Arm Armor

Dan got his cast off last Wednesday.  He is happier about it than this picture suggests. He always seems to have dizzy spells after having Doctors work on him, so he spent five minutes after this picture was taken lying on the hallway floor with his head on my lap. Then he was off to school where everyone in the office was super happy to see him.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Remembering I Can Hear

Picture from Google Images
I went through a period of time fairly recently where, when problems arose, or difficult challenges came to me, or a member of my family, the thought would come that I should pray.  Unfortunately, the next thought was that I would not hear the answer.  I justified my doubt by saying that I knew Heavenly Father would answer, I just didn't believe that I would hear the answer.  When this happened I would tell myself that this was not the voice I should be listening to, but I would find myself putting off those specific prayers.

Finally I realized that I needed to trust that not only would Heavenly Father answer, but that He would help me to receive the answer.  I started praying for that trust, and praying for the guidance that I felt I so desperately needed.  Whenever I would start to feel panicky about a problem, I would pray for trust and calm.  God is faithful, and as I went through the days I started to notice that He did answer me -- a little here, and a little there.  I received inspiration, ideas, and more faith that God is near, and I do not have to deal with hard things on my own.

The answers have never been the whole solution to the problem all outlined for me, but they have always helped me to move in the right direction, and to hope and believe that eventually each problem will be solved, and each challenge conquered.  I still have moments of panic, but I am getting better at remembering to pray for trust, and to move ahead with faith that I will be able to receive those answers when I need to.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Battling for Joy and Peace

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Image from Google Images
I like to think that I am a happy person, and I am.  I love my life. However, for years I have struggled with depressed, crying days, where I hid in my house and felt unaccountably sad, and unlovable.  After trying everything I could think of on my own to feel better, I went and got help, but there are still hard days.  The good news is, the more I study, learn, and practice, the more tools I have to do battle with, and the more I am able to be the joyful, peace filled, optimistic person that I want to be.

Lack of sleep and fatigue are the enemies of joy and peace for me. Once I get too tired I seem to lose my ability to think in a positive way.  Just learning that sleep is the real problem has been a big help, but I have also been practicing changing those awful thoughts that make me feel so sad.  Thoughts create our feelings, and naps just aren't always an option.  So here are just a few of the things that I have learned that help me.

1.  Breath Prayers.  I do this with deep breathing when I start to feel stress and anxiety because it not only helps me calm down, but it helps me to remember that I am not alone.  Heavenly Father listens, and His and Jesus' love is certain.  I simply pick a scripture, and then say the words of the scripture, or a summary of it, as I breathe. My favorite right now is a variation of Proverbs 3:5-6.  I think as I breathe in, "I trust in thee Lord" and as I breathe out "And thou will direct me".
2. Exercise:  If I am feeling too down, I often have trouble getting myself to move, which doesn't help my thoughts get unstuck.  If I can get myself to, then I do one of two things.  I either do Tai Chi, which keeps my mind and body occupied without being overly taxing, or if I can make myself get a move on, I really push myself at something.  This is very effective and can even help with my headaches sometimes!  It is helpful for me to remember that it is better to do 5 minutes of something, than to do nothing at all.
3.  Talk to someone or go where the people are.  People can be distracting, and conversations can help me to feel understood, or to get my mind on something besides me.
4. Do something - anything -  productive.  Clean.  Write notes.  Make music. Do a craft. Work outside.  This keeps my mind away from negative thoughts and as a bonus I have gotten something done!
5.  Be Entertained (either by a book, a movie, or a game).  For me it is best to let myself be entertained for an hour, and then get moving before I have time to fall back into a negative thought pattern. It always feels better to me if I am as productive as possible, so I try not to choose this kind of distraction all day, or guilt might creep in.

We are all in a battle for joy and peace.  On really hard days, we may need to remember that a person who is lying wounded and immobile on the battlefield is still a part of the army, and is still important and valuable to the others who battle on from a standing position.  We do our best to help ourselves, but we also allow others to help us.  Then, as we get the help we need, and start to heal, we can join the battle more in the way we want to. We just can't give up on the battle for joy and peace.  It is worth fighting.

I liked a quote from a talk I listened to by Jessica Gemino "Yes, depression is real, but hope is real, courage is real, resilience is real".

Friday, September 2, 2016

Dan Turns 10

Dan's birthday was on Monday!  It has been ten whole years since I got to hold one of my own brand new babies.  That is sad.  But Dan's birthday was happy.  Here are some of the pictures of our very creative, energetic, and imaginative Dan the Man.  

This is his first birthday cinnamon roll of the day, eaten at snack time.
Snack time is at about 3:30 p.m. in case you haven't implemented that in your house.
We were waiting for his candle to relight, because he wanted the trick candles.
I should have read the directions!
Dan had to wait until Derek got home from work to open his presents.
That was hard, but he didn't complain -- much.
Dan likes to do different characters.  He does a terrific Police Officer Dan.
We gave him a costume.  He was surprised and pleased.
He plans to make a youtube video series with his friends.
Dan got fake mustaches for Christmas, and on his birthday list he wrote
"more fake mustaches (I'm going to need a lot)"
Police Officer Dan is supposed to have a mustache!

I had read the instruction to the candles by evening when Dan got his second birthday cinnamon roll.
He loved those candles, and he laughed and laughed as he blew them out over and over again.
The house slowly filled with smoke, but Dan's enjoyment of the candles was worth it.

Here is Dan after he opened his costume.  He was pleased.
Dan has has an enthusiasm for life that we enjoy very much - except maybe when it ends in broken bones!  You never know what is going to happen next when you have a Dan, or which character he might decide to create and be on any given day.  He has plans to be an author like his uncle Brian, and to have his books made into movies.  He certainly has a lot of interesting ideas!  I love my Dan Thomas!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dan's More Dramatic First Day of School

Dan and Jake are both awesome -- but Dan is definitely more dramatic.  Add to that the fact that Dan fell off the high bar at the elementary school playground an hour before school got out and broke his arm, and you have a day that is a bit more dramatic than Jake's.  Dan didn't really get the cast until today (See last picture).  Naturally he broke hi left arm (more his wrist), and Dan is left handed. Happy 5th grade to Dan.  I hope we are getting the drama all out of the way so we don't need to have more.