14 August 2008


Do I want my kids to be olympians? At one time I thought that I did. Brad and I were married in 1997, so it was probably during the 1998 or 2000 Olympics that I thought how great it were if our kids found something to excel in and could compete in the Olympics. I wanted them to have a chance to "Be all they could be" and at the time since I was in the middle of my college career I was under the impression that to be the best you could be you needed to be athletic or have a great career.

Since that time I have struggled with that concept. I've had my kids enrolled in gymnastics, ballet, gymnastics, clogging and gymnastics again. They seem to like gymnastics the best, yet that doesn't mean they are on the road to gold. After listening to an interview with an Olympics gymnast where they talked about the discovery of her gymnastics ability at age 6 and the dedication to her sport since then my kids are far from the path that leads to the Olympics. I was scrapbooking this page of my girls in ballet and the girls couldi't even remember being in ballet. Yes, that was six years ago, and they were only 5 and 3. When I realized how little they remembered from their younger years my first thought was, "Why did I spend all that money on ballet classes and costumes." Well, no use beating myself up about it, however I could have used the money in more productive ways, but at the time I was still under the mistaken belief that I wanted my girls to become "olympians" or at least "great and famous" in whatever they did.

Personally my struggles have been learning to find fulfilment in my role as a wife and mother. I never really new why I was going to college, other than because after graduating as valedictorian from high school you were supposed to go to college. As a college student your goals are centered around preparing to get a great job, and take your place in society. I was lucky that when I got married I realized that even if I only left the work force to raise 1 child to age 6 I would practically have to start all over again in my career since I was a Computer Science Major. I was blessed to find a degree in General Studies and and wonderful Mentor and Counselor in Dr. Bitterwolf. He encouraged me in taking the kind of classes that I wanted to take, ones that would prepare me for the the role I knew that I really wanted, that of a wife and mother. However, although I was in classes like Child Development, Education, and Communications I still struggled with the thoughts of I should be preparing for a paying "Career". I got a great college degree, and learned a lot about life, but at what expense, $400 a month for the next 10+ years of my life. College is a tough lesson, even now.

When I started researching homeschooling I found this wonderful article by Diane Hopkins called "A College Degree for Girls? I don't think so. An Education? Why, of Course!" (More I Love Homeschooling Volume 2 by Diane Hopkins) She explains in this article how I felt while I was in college and gives some great ideas for alternative ways to get a great education and be prepared to take our rightful place in society as wives and mothers.

Now that the Olympics has rolled around once more I have taken the chance to reflect on the change in my attitudes over the past 10 years. I do want my children to succeed, to be happy, but most of all I want them to be prepared for the Celestial Kingdom and as President Hinckley said, "Women, for the most part, see their greatest fulfillment, their greatest happiness in home and family." (Teaching of Gordon B. Hinckley p387) I don't want my children to be famous, I don't want them to be dedicated athletes, I want them to be christians who are dedicated to serving the Lord, and prepared to raise a family, and fulfil whatever mission in life the the Lord calls them to serve.

13 August 2008

Justice, Mercy, and Forgiveness

I just watched a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, that I recorded awhile back, called "Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness". It really kind of tied together some of the ideas that I have been thinking about lately. Let me back up and explain.

Last year we decided, truth be told, we felt strongly prompted, that we should add onto and remodel our house so that my grandparents could move in with us. However, about a month in to the process our general contractor quit. Long story short before the addition was complete, I and my entire extended family, learned more about construction, hands on, than we ever wanted to know. We also went through, 3 plumbers, 3 electricians, 2 concrete contractors, 2 sets of framers, 2 lawyers, and lots of visits by the city inspectors. We are still in the middle of finishing up the landscaping.

We may or may not have had a case against the general contractor, and part of us really wanted to go to court, prove that we were right, that he did us a great injustice, and get him to own up, repent and repay. I however, was counciled by our Bishop, who also happens to be a lawyer, to take into consideration that this process would in all likelihood take at least a year to complete, and that I needed to consider the physical, mental, and emotional toll that would take on me as a pregnant homeschooling mother of 5 children. We decided that we had already forgiven them, and even if we did have a case, it didn't ruin us financially, just set us back a little, and we learned a lot of things and grew closer together as a family, however, didn't justice need to be satisfied? This is the question that I struggled with in the small moments of self pity that crept up on me.

Earlier this week I was reading the July 2008 Ensign Article entitled, "Hope, Healing, and Dealing with Addiction. I really was touched by this section.

Sometimes [people] mistakenly assume that extending forgiveness also means restoring trust. Yet trust and forgiveness are two separate issues. A person can repent and be forgiven long before he or she earns trust again.

I didn't really know how to explain it myself, but this sort of sums up what I had been feeling about all the mess we had with the construction process of our house last year. I felt like I had done my part to forgive them, yet I wouldn't recommend them to anyone else, or hire them again. So I had been struggling with, "Had I really forgiven them." I've always believed that all things were given us for our learning, and we learned, now we needed to move on and not give up a year of our life trying to exact justice.This explains it, yes, I've forgiven, but they haven't done anything to earn my trust. The next steps, repentance, and earning trust, are up to them.

Watching this movie tonight showed how this man went from wanting his wife's memory cleared of wrong doing in traffic accident, to wanting justice, the driver locked up, to understanding the driver's remorse, and then executing mercy as he asked the court to reduce the charge, and allow the young driver to pay his price to society by allowing him talk to youth about what happened, and save the lives of others. This was a much greater way to honor his wife's memory, to move forward and save the lives of others, most of all of the young man who had killed her. Mercy overcame Justice, what a powerful blessing. I'm so thankful that we decided to allow forgiveness into our hearts, to know that justice will win in the end, but mercy is even better.

A side note: as I was sitting down to write this I found out that the husband of one of my young women leaders and longtime family friend was killed today in a motorcycle accident.

11 August 2008

Running with Angels

Running with Angels by Pamela Hansen was another great book that I had a hard time putting down.

The part of the book that touched me the most was her candid admissions of guilt, low self esteem, and her judgemental attitude towards herself and others. Although I have spent most of my life overweight, I have been very blessed to have a great self esteem and love for myself. I don't spend time putting myself down and wallowing in self pity. My eyes were opened to see how others behave and think of themselves differently. I wrote about this subject about a year ago in a little different manner. Read "Gift of Identity" on my other website.

I also read this article in the "Girl Scouts Leader" Summer 2008 magazine called "Girl Culture" a couple of months ago and realized that unlike those suffering from eating disorders who believe themselves to be fat, I have a different self image of myself. Whenever I see myself in a picture or the mirror I am often surprised at how large I am. My mental self image is of a much smaller person, sort of the opposite of this girl shown in this art therapy picture. I don't consider this to be a bad thing, I don't feel that the size of me is the real me - and I don't remember ever feeling like I've been judged because of my weight. I discussed this briefly with Grandma Mackley and she feels the same way I do, she knows she is overweight, but she doesn't let it bother her.

Brad and I have been talking a lot about self confidence and self image this week. He is in the middle of a performance review at work and that is one thing his boss things he needs to work on. His boss recommended "Jijitsu". I've been pondering and talking to my brother about how we were able to be so self confident, and so far the only thing that I could come up with is the Og Mandino books that my Dad was always reading. I remember He recorded the essay "The Greatest Miracle in the World" onto tape and we would listen to it over and over, and we often had other aspirations to read in the bathroom. I remember really enjoying Og Mandino's books and would highly recommend them.

I liked that Pamela pointed out that we need to care for ourselves, and for our bodies that are really a gift from God. She gave some great tips on how to get started, and talked about the importance of rewards, and of having someone to check in with, to be accountable to. My junior year in college I was able to loose about 50 lbs. I was exercising and making healthy food choices, and meeting weekly with a nutritionist. That weekly meeting was very helpful to keep me on track and to help me learn better skills for choosing healthy foods. I also was at a time in my life that I was thinking about my body as more than just my body, I was getting married, and was thinking about having children. I knew that I needed to be healthier for my children. However, it is now 11 years later and I am 25 lbs heavier than when I began my first weight loss program. A lot of things have happened in the intervening years, including 6 pregnancies.

So often I've been guilty of eating because I was tired, or busy or stressed. I am also an emotional eater, if I'm happy I celebrate, if I'm upset I comfort myself.

Unlike Pamela I have never had a desire to run a marathon, but I do want to be a happy and healthier me. I think (notice I'm not 100 percent committed yet) that the time has come for me to focus on my body. I may have to read this book again sooner rather than later.

Twin Falls Temple

We started out of family camping trip by going to Twin Falls to see the new temple. We planned to camp at Bruneau Sand Dunes on our way back so we had to pack and pack. As we filled our trailer I said, "It's a good thing we aren't pioneers, we are taking more than a handcart just for 3 days." Brad's comment to me gave me a lot to ponder, he said, "I think we were meant for different things." It was fun to pretend that like those that settled the Rocky Mountains that we had to travel quite a ways to go to the temple, even though we were able to get there in only 2 hours, we put a lot of thought and effort into packing for our trip.

I was so excited to be able to take the kids to the open house. In only 1.5 years Rebecca will be old enough to do baptisms in the temple and this was such a great opportunity to begin to teach her about the importance of the temple and to show them the beautiful work that goes into God's house. Unfortunately, Brad and I aren't very good examples of the importance of temples, even now that we live within 2 miles of the temple we don't make it there very often.

The girls had gone to the Spokane Temple Open House, but they were both under 2 so they don't have any recollection of meeting Aunt Malinda at the temple and getting to see some of the work that she was doing, and bringing home a small piece of granite(Malinda, correct me if I'm wrong) that was leftover from the temple.

Although I know that Kevin probably won't remember this trip through the temple he was so reverant, he folded his hands and followed along with everyone else.

Rebecca and Emily both have tickets to go to the dedication since it will be broadcast here in our building. I wish I could go, but I will stay home with MaryAnn and the boys. Rebecca asked me yesterday if she could find some names of ancestors so that when she is 12 she can do thier baptisms in the temple. I told her I thought that was a grand idea. It had been my plan for several years, eversince I heard my friend Tammy talk about doing research with her 11 year old daughter. We got started today by downloading PAF and Rebecca inserted everyone in our family. We are going to learn to do it, the right way, together. We are going to make sure we have the documentation to go along with the data.
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04 August 2008

Almost Sisters

I read a great book in two days. I could hardly put it down. It was Almost Sisters by Nancy Anderson, Lael Littke, and Carroll Hofeling Morris. It was recommended by someone in the Enrichment Night book group that I attend monthly(when I can). I got it from the library and let Grandma Mackley read it first, she really enjoyed it and pointed out that it was book one of a trilogy. I finished reading it today, so tomorrow I'll have to go discuss it with her.

I identified with a lot of the different trials that these 3 LDS sisters were going through, the grief of of feeling guilty over not being sure that I wanted a baby and then miscarrying, of feeling like I have to make everything all right for everyone else, and not taking time for myself, of wanting to expand and have something more, be it a "career" or someway to change the world, but also wanting to be the best mother and wife that I can be, the conflict that comes from being 1 part of a couple, and many more. I feel like these ladies are my best friends and I wish I could be part of their little group, that I could meet up with them and share my feelings and insights with them.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Three Tickets to Peoria, and am glad that the third book in the series, Surprise Packages, comes out this week. I found the website for the the three "almost sisters" who wrote the books, www.virtualsisters.net I can't wait to poke around their a bit more and read their biographys.

01 August 2008

Spa Night with the Girls

I had an enjoyable spa night with my girls last month. We had been planning it for about a week so they were really looking forward to it. We left Daddy downstairs to play with the boys and we headed up to my bathroom with our swimming suits, nail polish, and a few books.

Here are a few of the books that we had to peruse during our relaxing evening.

This is the first book that I share with my kids, from the time that they are old enough to sit on your lap to be read a story this book would be appropriate as it introduces them to the idea of families. There are pages in this book just for parents - so read it yourself before giving it to an independent reader.

I love this book for my girls - it really covers a lot of things that I probably never would have thought to cover - especially since I am not a girly girl. I tell my girls that to I am willing to talk to them about everything, but that since I don't want to forget or leave anything out we will use the book to help remind us what needs to be covered. It also gives them a place to refer back to and to study. I always remind them that if they have any questions to come and talk to me any time, with discretion. We do discuss how it is important to remember that some discussions are private and may need to wait until we can be alone.

This book explains it all - in living color, with cute cartoons, but with an appropriate attitude, maybe not reverance, but respect and with the disgression needed for a first introduction to how babies are made. Be aware, you may blush the first time you read this, so be prepared to read it a few times before sharing it with your child. I allow my children the option to have me read it to them, or they can read it themselves. They usually choose to read it to themselves, but I'm sitting right there with them to talk about it if they want.
While we were reading and discussing these books, and other topics, we were soaking in my huge bathtub (all three of us fit) in our swimming suits, and then painting each others nails. We had a great time and I look forward to many more spa nights with my girls as they are entering their 'tween and teen years.

* My girls are 9 and 10 and this was a second discussion for the 10 year old. She was excited to tell her younger sister some of the things she remembered - and it was great that I could "listen in" as she told what she remembered.