Wednesday, May 28, 2008

HELLO!!!! This is NOT ok with me!!!

Just had to share - In the space of 3 days, I've had 2 people ask me if I'm PREGNANT!!! I think NOT! My baby is only 5 months old, for cryin' out loud!!!

I'm guessing that I should be taking this as a neon-flashing sign that I need to stop eating so much junk food (especially chocolate) and do a few more sit-ups. (and since I'm not currently doing ANY sit ups a few more is only 2 or 3 a day right???)
ANYWAY - now back to my regular life that I AM ok with.

I've been pretty busy as of late and haven't been posting much. Here's a brief synopsis:

Memorial Weekend was enjoyable. We worked hard in the yard Saturday morning, then took the kids to Topaz Mountain to go "rock hounding." It was a long drive, and not really so much fun for me and Caleb, but the kids had a great time climbing all over the mountain collecting topaz and seeing lizards. (plus one big Gopher snake)

Monday I pulled a few more weeds (during a brief break in the rain), then for FHE we went to the cemetery and put a few flowers on family grave sites. I took the family history book with me and read the testimonies of great grandpa Theras and great grandma Florance to the kids. Then Tim showed the kids how to do a "rubbing" of the headstone and they each got to do one. (It sounds like a better home evening than it turned out to be. you know kids - Bryan just wanted to run around and hit all the balloons that people had put on different grave sites, and Aaron and Katrina wanted to run around and look at the statues on various graves. We persevered as best we could, and I at least enjoyed reading the testimonies of my great grandparents.)

Yesterday I had a WONDERFUL day! I went to my favorite local greenhouse and had a delightful time wandering around in the plants and flowers. I was with my friend Holly, so we had two adults to help keep the kids semi-under control, and since they got to pull the little red wagons with our flowers selections - they thought it was fun. I probably spent a little more money than I should have, but it was SO great. Then I came home and spent 3 hours planting and weeding. I LOVE IT!!!

This is a picture of the container I planted. My High Country Gardens catalog had a huge "container garden" section in its last issue, so I just picked which one I liked best, then took the picture with me to make sure I got the right plants. The greenhouse didn't have the exact type of grass, but I got one that looks great. I also ended up adding a tall pink flowered plant (I don't know the name, since the tag was missing) - but Katrina fell in love with the little pink flowers and just "had" to have it. It looked good with the combination so I bought it. (a case of "twist my rubber arm")

That about sums up my life for the past week. Today is Aaron's last full day of school, (1/2 day tomorrow) then it is on to what will hopefully turn out to be a fun filled and productive summer!

Gotta get cracking -

Thursday, May 22, 2008

An Inspiring read

Tim gave me Ardeth G. Kapp's biography for mother's day. I finished it last night and I found it just inspiring. She is most certainly an elect lady who was sent to the earth at this specific time in history to fulfill a great mission.

Some overall thoughts... "Never give up, give out, or give in - GIVE ALL!!"

I also really enjoyed the story of when they served as mission president (and mission mom) in the Canada Vancouver mission. It told how they worked so hard and gave their all to the work. When it came time to be released, they spent the day with the incoming president, handed over the keys to everything, then drove to their motel for the night.
"Upon arriving at the motel where they were to spend the night, they found themselves too weary and sick to carry their luggage to their room. Heber grabbed his shaving kit, and Ardeth managed to carry her toothbrush and handbag inside. Everything else remained in the car. They fell into bed, exhausted but at peace, having crossed the finished line - mission completed, with not an ounce of energy remaining." (Stand As a Witness - The Biography of Ardeth Greene Kapp, pg 347)
This made me reflect on the importance to really, truly giving your all. Not just making a good effort until it become a little difficult - but really wearing out your life in the service of the Lord.

The book inspired me to try harder to -
1) maintain a positive attitude and trust in the Lord, trusting that all things will work together for my good if I remain faithful and obedient
2) fulfill each and every calling (including the sacred calling of motherhood) with faith, purpose, and all the energy of my heart
3) learn to listen to, understand, and follow the promptings of the spirit more in my life
4) be more loving, accepting, and more in tune with the needs of those around me.
5) develop a closer, more personal relationship with my Father in Heaven
6) recognize that we were each sent to earth with different missions to accomplish. I wasn't sent to be "Ardeth." I was sent to be "Jeri," and I need to be the best Jeri that I can while striving to do whatever it is the Lord sent ME here to accomplish.

As is often the case with me - the inspiration to improve comes easily - the lasting change of heart and improvement is much hard to achieve. But I'm going to strike while the iron is hot - I'm off to have a great day and accomplish much good. (or at least try to avoid the bad:)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Follow up to "good luck"

I've had a couple people request that I tell what happened when we got to church after Aaron got his good luck message from Heavenly Father. The truth of the matter is that I didn't post what happened because it was really a non-event in my life. Pretty typical stuff as far as it goes...

It was mother's day, and as usual we were racing to get to church on time. (I always mean to get there 10 minutes early so that we can sit reverently and prepare ourselves for the meeting, but you know how that goes 90% of the time...) We have a fairly large ward with a HUGE number of young children, so there was a really high probability that we would end up sitting by someone with young children. (I actually feel really bad for anyone without children who happens to end up sitting by my own little [adorable] 3-ring circus... I've thought a number of times that I should have little cards ready to pass out that apologize profusely to everyone in the vicinity of our little row, but I have yet to follow through on that particular idea)
Anyway, because the primary children would be singing during the meeting, I wanted to be up near the front, and since we got there right before the meeting started, there was a shortage of available seats. We ended up sharing a row with the bishop's family - they have 5 kids with one on the way (their oldest is 6, almost 7 yrs old); sitting behind us was a family with 5 kids (oldest is 9yrs with youngest being 1 year old twin boys); In front of us there was a small family (2 kids under 5yrs.) but they were down at the opposite end of the row, so no on e was actually sitting directly in front of us. Basically, Aaron was not reverent by any stretch of the imagination, but he was no more irreverent than usual. All in all, it was a pretty typical sacrament meeting.

He and his friend did get into a pinching, scratching, flicking, biting (biting was accused but unconfirmed) fight during primary opening exercises though - maybe that's what the "good luck" warning was for???

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"GOOD LUCK" - a conversation with Aaron

Last Saturday night I was sitting with Aaron while he said his bedtime prayer. Immediately after saying "Amen"(more like simultaneously), he collapsed onto his pillow with a big sigh. I decided this could be a good teaching moment about listening for answers to our prayers.

"That was a nice prayer Aaron, did Heavenly Father have anything to say to you?"

He looked at me with the confused look I expected. I continued by explaining how in General Conference, one of the speakers told us that after we finish talking to Heavenly Father, we should sit very quietly for at least 30 seconds and listen (with our hearts & minds) to see if He has anything He wants to say to us.

"Sometimes He will tell us things that we have done wrong that we need to repent of, or He might remind of things that we need to do, or He will often just let us feel really special inside so that we know how much He loves us."

Aaron's eyes got really wide, he popped back up on his knees, closed his eyes, and just knelt there quietly. (Can't you just see me at this point??? I was feeling like such a terrific mother, and was waiting anxiously for the spirit to rush in and confirm to us both that Aaron is child of God, that Heavenly Father loves him, that the Church is true, and everything else that he needs to know to be true and faithful for the rest of his mortal life....) After a little time, he slowly opened his eyes and calmly laid back down.

"Did Heavenly Father have anything to say to you?"


"Great! What did He say?"

He told me that tomorrow in church, someone I know is going to sit by us and talk to me so it will be hard to be reverent."

"Oh really??" (Not exactly what I was expecting...but OK)

"Ya. We will be be sitting there first. Then someone will come and sit by us and I will want to talk to them, so I won't be able to be reverent."

"Well, Ok then. Did He have anything else to say?" (At this point, I really wasn't exactly sure what to say... I guess I'm not so great with the whole teaching moments thing... )

"He just told me, "Good Luck.""

I was chuckling inside at this point, and decided that was enough teaching for one day.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Great Mother's Day

Have you ever known someone who feels like Mother's Day is their own personal Holiday??? A day in which they are supposed to be catered to, served, coddled, given gifts & cards, do absolutely nothing - while having their every need, wish, and desire granted? If these unrealistic expectations are not met, then they pout and decide that it means that their family is unappreciative and doesn't love them. (As a little side note, usually if this same "hypothetical" mother had a husband with similar expectations on Father's Day - she would have a coronary and think he was selfish and pig-headed, but that's an entirely different Blog)

Now, I don't think I've ever been the extreme of this "hypothetical" mother, but I think I've had leanings in that direction from time to time. (you know; thinking things like, "I shouldn't have to help get anyone ready for church today, it's my DAY OFF," or things like that...) WELL, this year I determined to have a wonderful Mother's Day. And it was!
I decided the night before that I would make it wonderful day by CELEBRATING and REJOICING and ENJOYING the role of MOTHER. Tim asked me what I wanted him and Aaron to make me for breakfast, and instead of sitting there waiting to be served, I sat with Aaron and helped him read the instructions to make the muffins. I fried the hash browns and eggs while Tim took care of the bacon and juice. We all ate together and it was wonderful. We all worked together to clean up. It was glorious. Tim and the kids gave me a few simple gifts that I will enjoy. We played a game together as a family before church. It was as delightful as any game can be when you are playing with young children:) but it was great!
I put a ham and potatoes in the oven while we were at church and then we took it over to my mom and dad's to share dinner with them. One the way, we dropped dinner off (and had a short visit) with my grandparents, (who are 88 & 90 years old and are stilling living on their own in their own home... that looks like it can't last much longer, they are getting so old and frail. They've been married 69 years this Sept. what an amazing example they are to me - but that too, is another blog post altogether) After eating with my folks, we played a game, then came home and put the kids to bed.

I had no grand and glorious expectations, and I had a wonderful day being a MOTHER. (and wife, and daughter, and granddaughter.)

{Tim took this photo of Aaron and Katrina out in the back yard right before church. (that's my Eastern Redbud you see in bloom) It turned out cute and I wish I had time to get Caleb and Bryan in the shot, but we were running a bit late as it was, so no family photo this time...}

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hummingbirds and Honeybees


Yesterday afternoon I sat out in the back yard to nurse Caleb (don't fret about my privacy; as of right now there are still no neighbors up behind me, but if you are interested in being my backyard neighbor, there are lots available and the builders are offering some great incentives and discounts due to the downturn in market conditions....)


Yesterday while I was in the back yard feeding Caleb - I had two fun spring moments. The first was that when a HUMMINGBIRD came zipping through the yard and around my head. He checked out both spots where I had the hummingbird feeders hung last year. (I don't have them up yet, but I'm sure you can guess what's pretty high on my list of things to do today:)

The second spring moment was that I was sitting under my Eastern Redbud tree, which is in full bloom, and the honeybees were just having a heyday collecting nectar. I love the sound of happily buzzing bees. I feel bad for them - they get a bad rap! Kids (and many adults) always freak out and scream and run. HONEYBEES ARE OUR FRIENDS! My mom has a beehive and one afternoon she found my niece out there watching the bees. My niece was 3 or 4 at the time, and mom found her standing right next to the hive - standing there, with her hand resting on the box, just watching in fascination at the bees flying in and out. Did she get stung? NO.
Now yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, etc. They are another story altogether. I have my traps out already and I rejoice to see them fill up. They are mean nasty fellows who sting for little or no reason, sting multiple times, and they seem to multiply like mice! I wish THEY were suffering for colony collapse, but no such luck.

I have a simple request for any of you who spray your trees, flowers, gardens, etc with pesticides. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE spray in non windy conditions, after 7pm in the evening. Generally speaking, the bees have returned to their hives by then, and it gives the spray all night to dry, thus making it safe for the bees again. Bees are such a vital part of pollinating. My mom easily doubles her strawberry production when she has beehives. (and other fruits and veggies, but strawberries had the most drastic increase.) Let's try to help our friends the bees! (By the way, my mom lost one of her hives last year, so if you live in UT county and happen to see a swarm in your neighborhood, let me know and I'll have her come pick it up.)

WELL - I didn't mean for this to be a BEE SAFETY blog, I meant for it to be a "glory in spring" blog, but I guess you just never know what's going to come out once you start typing EH??? I gotta get going - I have loads of stuff I HAVE to get done today!

GO ME!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Still here

I'm still feeling a bit under the weather. I think I must be fighting off a bug of some sort. Hope it passes soon.

I've had two experiences this week that have sent my mind to the line from the song "consider the lilies" by Roger Hoffman -

"Consider the sweet, tender children, who must suffer on this earth. The pains of all of them He carried, from the day of his birth..."

On Monday night we went to a nearby park to play for FHE. There were two boys there (I would guess their ages to be around 12 -14) who were being HORRIBLE. The were doing their best to ruin the whole park experience for everyone there. They were talking rudely and crudely at top volume. There were spitting at people and things. There were being rude and mean and hateful to other young people at the park. (They left the little kids alone, I'm guessing since all of then were accompanied by parents...) Some of the things that came out of these kids' mouths seemed indicative of abuse - certainly emotional, and according to some things they said - also sexual. I went back and forth between wanting to grab the boys, whack their heads together, tell them to shape up, and kick them out of the park; and feeling sorry for them, since it was obvious that they were hurting inside and so in need of attention that they were willing to take all the negative attention they could.

Then yesterday, one of our tenants, "Lucy," came by to have me fill out some paperwork so that she could hopefully get medical welfare assistance for her granddaughter. While she was here, she told me the most recent saga in her story - In short, Lucy's daughter Kathy, age 17 with a 5 month old baby, took Lucy to court and had the grandma (Matilda) named as Kathy's legal guardian. (names have been changed) Well, that lasted less than a month before Matilda kicked Kathy and the baby out. Kathy moved back in with Lucy, running up bills which she refuses to pay, won't get up at night with the baby, and leaves for days a time (without the baby of course) because she needs a "break." Lucy (who has made lots of poor choices herself, but seems to be trying to do what she thinks is best) says she would like to kick Kathy out, but doesn't feel she can because of the baby.

Although there are days when I am sure that I am the worst mom ever, and I feel sorry for my children, having been sent to earth with ME as their mother; there are many more times when I realize that my children are the lucky ones. Even with my outbursts and shortcomings. My heart aches for the children who suffer so much at the hand of selfish and evil adults - especially when those adults are their parents - the ones who should be doing everything in their power to love, cherish, and protect these little ones.

Monday night, I added to my prayer those boys from the park. Even though I was incredibly annoyed that they destroyed the family atmosphere of the park that evening, I knew that they were hurting and desperately in need of the healing power of the Savior. I also pray for the sweet baby granddaughter of our tenant. How I wish this teenage girl could see that the best life she could give the baby is to allow a good, strong, two parent family the chance to adopt the sweet baby, before the chaos of their lifestyle starts the cycle all over again.

I think tonight I will say an extra prayer for the children around the world who are hurting, and I will find comfort in knowing that Jesus loves the children and is ever mindful of them. Then I will read an extra bedtime story and snuggle a little longer when I tuck my own sweet kids into bed.