Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Better Way to Celebrate 10 Years?

I mentioned previously that I have been thinking about how I can commemorate the celebration of my 10 years being baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that would be appropriate and blog-worthy. I have quite a few friends that read this blog who also belong to that church and other friends who aren't. My entire extended family does not belong to it and because of that, I've always been really careful to choose my words here for fear of offending people with dialogue that might be considered over-the-top religious. I don't personally like reading anything that is excessively proselyting in nature although I do like reading spiritual testimony that isn't belabored with religious culture and liturgical language. I've often shot down my own ideas for things to blog about simply because I thought it was "too mormon" or whatever. I want to keep people reading, not leaving because my dialogue is too proselytization-driven.
That said, this year is the year. The year I'm going to get all Mormon on you, more accurately, all Latter-Day Sainty on you. Not every post, mind you. But I will have one post a month highlighting some specific aspect of my religion. I hesitate in using the word "religion" because to me, it is my life's blood, but for lack of a better term, we'll call it my religion.
So why am I warning you? Well, not so you can run away and ignore any post entitled "Joseph Smith" or whatever, but so that when you do see a post that might be religiously-geared, you won't be wondering what the heck happened to my blog. I kind of feel like I'll be putting my heart on a platter here, up for people to secretly judge me or wonder how I ever strayed from my childhood religion so I'm cringing. I'm a little scared about it. Hopefully the curious will read, if only for curiosity's sake. That's kind of what I'm hoping. And the ones that share my faith can cheer me on and back me up. And hopefully nobody deletes my blog from their memory because the idea of knowing anything about a religion that once practiced polygamy offends them too strongly.
I started my blog so I could get out in the open things I feel strongly about, that I think people might benefit from knowing. Whether or not you are "religion shopping" or happy with where you are, it will benefit you to know about what I believe and the journey I have taken to get to where I am. I don't care if you're Buhddist, Muslim, Primitive Baptist, or Athiest. It benefits me to know what motivates you. I can't tell you the number of times I've been inspired by other faiths and I hope that my story can inspire you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I have noticed for a while now that Beya has an unusual interest in anatomy and the body. She gets REALLY interested in anything happening on television in which blood or organs are shown. You might think it's just that natural morbid curiosity but she really likes to talk about what she sees. For example, I have really liked watching "Once Upon A Time", a series on ABC that sort of retells all of the well-known fairy tales in a unique way. Beya watches it with me a lot because, of course, it features characters like Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood. One of the episodes showed that the wicked queen keeps the hearts of her enemies locked up in boxes in a vault. They showed one of these and while I was kind of cringing, she was absolutely enthralled and wanted to know about the heart and why the witch would want it and why it hurt the man whose it was (because he was still walking around, but was a slave to the queen because she controlled his heart). So I started explaining why the heart is important and how it circulates blood and so she started talking about her heart and pointing out where her blood is going, and trying to see the veins through her skin. She comes up to me regularly to tell me she can feel her heartbeat through her chest. This is just one example and she is always interested in what doctors do to heal people (surgery specifically) and to say that she readily remembers Dr. Wallin sewing up her chin on his kitchen table over a year ago is an understatement. Anyway, I've said all this to say that the other day after one such episode in which she was talking about some grotesque aspect of her anatomy (can't remember what it was now), I asked her, "Beya, do you think you'd like to be a doctor when you grow up so you can look inside peoples' bodies all day?"  I am so serious that she did not even skip a beat replying, "Nope. I just want to be a mom."
I'm glad I've somehow made all this look more glamorous than blood and guts. ;-)

That got me to wondering what my other children would say, well specifically, Novan.
"Novan, what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Novan: "I don't know."
Me: "You don't know? Well what do you want to DO when you grow up?"
Novan (nonchalantly): "Be the President."
Um. I think I've got a little Brad on my hands.

I then asked Iyov. He, of course, had no idea what I meant. Kids are pretty fickle at that age. He just kept saying he would be big. OK. Well at least he has a grasp on one happens to your body as you get older.

Then I thought about what I'd like to be when I grow up, cuz you know, you're ALWAYS growing up, no matter how grown up you are. It's a very difficult question for me to narrow down an answer because I have so many things that interest me. But, my top two are: 1) a writer 2) I want to learn how to play a violin and be more muscial. While I'm doing that, I'd like to train to be a midwife, or maybe just a doula. I just want to see babies be born one way or another. After that, I want to learn more about a ton of subjects. Cosmology, astro physics, and astronomy are up there on the list. I'm kind of a nerd about that stuff. Brad can't believe that I really enjoy documentaries on space and that I think so much about the mechanics of creation. I can't help it. Heavenly Father is a genius and learned about all this stuff at one point so I must take after Him ;-) Then there's Hebrew. I think I'd really like to learn to speak, read, and write Hebrew one day, for a variety of reasons I won't get into here. And I'd like to make an in-depth study of ALL religious Hebrew texts. And that's just a start. But I can see you getting bored. So I'll move on.

Brad isn't here to ask, but I know what he'd say. He just wants to coach football. It's pretty much the only thing, other than stocks and the capital markets, that interests him. Boooooooring. Gosh, it's amazing that two people so different can work so well together isn't it?

So what do YOU want to be when you grow up? No really, I'd love to know!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Traditions

When I was a kid, my mom always got us little boxes of chocolate and left them on our pillow to wake up to on Valentine's Day. Considering how few traditions my family had to be able to pass on to my own kids, this is one of the traditions I have tried to carry on. However, my detest for having my kids eat a bunch of candy for every holiday has meant that I try to leave them something else for Valentines day, in this case, a small gift. This year though, the tradition did not go at all as planned.

Here's a picture of the kids after they got their gifts in the morning. Beya's was actually just the hair. The dress was one she got from Gammy some months ago. Obviously, she wanted to pose with the entire ensemble.

I took for granted the fact that at 7 AM it's still pitch dark outside and so Novan didn't even see his gift as he got out of bed. I had to go retrieve it so the "waking up to a gift" idea was lost on him. Beya woke up at 1AM because she threw up in her bed and neither she nor I saw the thing at that time as I stumbled around in my ny-quil haze (I've been very congested for a few days) and got her to sleep on the couch. It was only after I gave Novan his gift that I went to get Beya's, thankful that it hadn't gotten thrown up on. Again, no surprise on her pillow to wake up to.
Probably the only one who got the memo was the one who was missing in this picture. I think it's because he probably got the memo a little too early. Hence, why he's still asleep at 8:30 AM. Oh, there he is:
Really not sure at what point he opened his. One thing is for sure, he was definitely up at some point very early playing with it (see opened package below him).
*Sigh* I guess I'll have to do a better job next year.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things (lately)

I generally only post on this blog when I feel especially prompted. I try not to get super deep all of the time. I am, by nature, a deep thinking individual though. I like to understand everything. I like to be at peace with stuff that happens around me so that I can sleep at night. I've thought about blogging several times and each time I knew it was going to be another post on how upside down my life continues to be and how I am trying to have faith and maintain an eternal perspective through it all. Suffice it to say, I chose NOT to blog about certain topics because this is a public blog and I have no desire for it to be otherwise so for now those subjects will remain in my personal journal. But I need this blog. It really helps me put my life into perspective sometimes and it's nice to know that a few people out there care enough about me to read through my lengthy blog posts.
So I decided today, after a particularly trying week, that I would dedicate a blog post to a list of things that have happened that are good.

1) Brad and I went to the temple this past weekend. The closest temple to us is in Bismarck so it's about 4 hours away. A friend let us borrow her two older girls to come with us and babysit while Brad and I were in the temple. I loved it. The harder life is, the more you appreciate and recognize the clarity that comes when you are inside. I wished I could stay there all weekend. What wonderful friends we have here that allow us to adopt their girls for a night.

2) After our temple trip, we took all the kids to the indoor pool and waterslide where we stayed and they had a blast. Novan must have gone down that slide 100 times! After a shy start, Iyov was splashing and jumping with the best of them.

3) Novan can read! Well, much more than I would expect anyway. I've been very pleased with his teacher and the attention she gives her kids. She taught Novan how to zip his coat too. If you know Novan and his motor deficiencies, you'll understand this is a big deal. I am so pleased that every morning, when we leave for school, Novan dresses, puts on hat, gloves, boots, and zips his own coat, ready to go to the car without my help! We have really been blessed to somehow miraculously be in a place where the classes are small and teachers care and give individual attention like that. His teacher keeps me up to date on Novan's progress, asks for advice on dealing with his occasional melt-downs and is really single-handedly responsible for getting Novan excited about reading. We read a short book every night and I find myself being so relieved that he is catching on to reading so willingly and easily. I had expected that he would make a big deal and pitch a fit over me having him read every night but he seems pleased to spend the time with me and show off his skills. He has also really enjoyed me reading to him and Beya. I finished The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and now we are reading Charlotte's Web. He actually reminds me every night to read to them. I love it!

4) Brad still has a job. There is a fear here, and probably the reason the place has failed to develop better infrastructure to handle the people influx, that this boom will be over soon. It is a fear based in the worry that the government will crack down on fracking and legislation will ban it meaning the oil boom will fizzle out over night and hundreds of thousands of people here will be out of work. Homes will be abandoned and foreclosed on and the place will be an effectual ghost town. This is a real possibility until the government allows for infrastructure to be put in place such as a pipeline and perhaps legislation protecting fracking as a legitimate way to get oil. So we kind of live day to day just grateful that the boom is still happening and Brad still has a good job.

5) Beya continues to show how beautiful her soul is. I really do worry sometimes that one day she is going to decide that being good is too hard and that I'm going to have a hard time convincing her that Jesus and Heavenly Father love her and wish her to continue in virtue and goodness. But that day has not come. She only gets more lovely. She loves to draw and her pictures are usually her family, things she loves like fairies and mermaids, and this past Sunday during church, she was drawing pictures of the temple. She asked, a few weeks ago to see pictures of the inside. And while we were at the temple she asked if she could touch it. She was excited and understands the privilege much more than I would have expected. She spends her days drawing the things she loves and making up songs about how Jesus and her family love her and she loves them. She knows well that Jesus would have her act kindly and always wants to do what she knows would make Him happy. I don't recognize her as my daughter sometimes. The light of Christ just shines so brightly. She just seems to be this angel flitting about and spreading goodness wherever she goes.

6) Iyov tells me he loves me, every day. I never get tired of hearing it.

7) For some reason I have not been able to enforce sleeping through the night with Keshet.  Maybe it's because she is a girl and Beya did it on her own. Or maybe I kind of liked waking up with her once at night. But I'm happy to say I haven't had to put my foot down. She started sleeping through the night on her own a couple weeks ago. I don't like hearing my babies cry and I never liked having to go to extremes to get Novan and Iyov sleeping but I'm grateful I didn't have to make that decision with Keshet. She's such a sweet little thing.

8) My testimony grows. It just grows and grows and grows. There's no end in sight. I've stuck to my decisions to insert more good things and extract more bad things from my day to day activities. I read my scriptures multiple times a day. I listen to conference talks regularly. I give no place for trash TV and I pray always, all day. I told Brad the other day that I don't like to say "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen" in my personal prayers because it's like I'm closing the communication lines and I know as soon as I say them that I'm going to have something else to say to my Father and will have to start all over with the formalities. So when I say personal prayers I don't and I consider the "Amen" Brad and and I say on our prayers together at night to be my personal prayer close for the day. I'm so thankful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it has transformed me. This year I will be celebrating my 10 year baptism anniversary and so I've been thinking alot about how I can celebrate reverently and with gratitude. I really like when I can look back on the day and see how much I was thinking of spiritual things instead of temporal things. It has made recent events more bearable.

9) My husband loves me. Brad and I will also be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year. I am so blessed, in a time and place where divorce is so prevalent, that we are still going strong through innumerable hardships that just seem to increase with each passing year. As the bad stuff adds, the good stuff compounds and I really can't see myself going through this journey with anyone more capable of dealing with it and being solidly committed to service and doing good to all men. I love Brad more deeply every year.

10) Since moving here, we've tried to include a number of "wife-less men" in our family activities. By wife-less, I mean men whose families are far away and they live here weeks at a time without the strength of daily family interactions. We have had someone, usually more than one, over for dinner and games every Sunday night. It's been a real blessing to get to know these men and see the dedication that so many have to providing for their families through hardship and separation.

11) I love Williston, ND. I'm going to dedicate a post at some point as to the whys but Williston has found a place in my heart and I'm relieved and grateful that it has been so EASY to be here. Of course, it may be the mild winter has made it that much easier but I really don't think that's the only reason its been easy. I like cold weather after all. But Williston has grown on me quickly and also my kids. I am grateful to be here for much more than just a job.