Can You Believe It? Because I Can't!

Let the fun begin, right?!

But just before our family can truly "enter the holidays" we needed to pause and celebrate a birthday! 

JW is TWELVE!!!!!!!!!!!
Can I just say, I did NOT expect this transition to be so hard.  It's just an age, right?  But I didn't realize what an age it is!  JW will be joining MUTUAL tomorrow night...no more cub or 11 yr. old scouting, no sirree!!  He's 12!  With this age status he becomes a deacon in the Church, taking on the responsibilities of holding the Aaronic Priesthood.  He will pass the sacrament.  He will have opportunity to perform baptisms in the temple  (which he is very impatiently and eagerly awaiting). 

Not only all of this, but he's growing like nothing else!  I just bought him new pants and shirts four months ago, only to retire them and purchase more!  He's becoming a bit more contradictory, declaring even more his independence from his all-knowing parents (hee-hee), and entering true youth-hood.  And he never stops eating!! 


I have to also admit that I had a bit of an emotional breakdown last night as I thought of all this. He's my little boy! Well, he WAS my little boy. And I had all control over him back then (hahaha). Not any longer. And to think that in just 4 years he'll be dating & driving, in seven years he'll be on his mission, and in twelve more years he'll possibly be married and a father!! Now, if that isn't crazy to think about, I don't know what is!

JW is "practically perfect in every way." As oldest child he takes on a lot of responsibility (sometimes begrudgingly) and he is paving a great path for the little ones following after. He has an infectious sense of humor, an impeccable desire to be obedient, and the ability to learn quickly. He has a great love for music, especially the piano and hopes to progress to playing the organ soon. He loves his dad. We were just looking through pictures of years past and recognized that in many of the pictures he's mimicking his father! A good model to follow, I think. JW has a strong testimony of the gospel and loves to serve where needed. I'm so grateful to have him as my son.



Saints will Suffer

A quote from April's General Conference has been haunting me.  Not really haunting, but just simmering in my mind I guess, a phrase I think we need to pay more attention to.

"Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord “shall suffer persecution.”12 That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives (Elder Russell M. Nelson, April 2011, bold added)."

At first glance this can be scary.  I have worried a bit over this not for my own sake, but for the sake of my children.  I don't worry for the persecution or the trials they may face so much as I wonder about these questions: 

Am I truly preparing them to withstand such trials and persecutions? 

Am I training them with the characteristics they will need to stand strong against the things that are to come?

What am I teaching them that will fortify their faith and strengthen their confidence that they can fight against trying times? 

In Peter we read:
" For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it apatiently? but if, when ye do well, and bsuffer for it, ye take it cpatiently, this is dacceptable with God.  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also asuffered for us, leaving us an bexample, that ye should follow his steps:  (1 Peter 2:20-21)."

"And who is he that will harm you, if ye be afollowers of that which is good?
But and if ye asuffer for brighteousness’ sake, chappy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
But asanctify the Lord God in your hearts:...
For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye asuffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
For Christ also hath once asuffered for sins, the just for the bunjust, that he might bring us to God,... (1 Peter 3:13-15, 17-18)."

In other words, our purpose is to become like our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He suffered not only for us, but as an example to us of how to endure suffering for righteousness' sake.  What better reason to suffer than for Him. 

Knowing this, putting this knowledge into context, has helped me to turn my fear into faith.  The Lord has a plan and His plan will prevail.  His atonement has given us the power to persevere through whatever may happen in the future.  Thus, Elder Nelson's title for his talk:  "Face the Future with Faith." 

We had an amazing lesson in Relief Society on Sunday wherein we focussed not on the bad and horrible things that are to come before the 2nd coming, but looked at the glorious and wonderful things that will happen before Jesus comes again.  All of it - the good and the bad - is part of the Lord's plan.

We have a part in that plan both individually and as a people.  Are we building upon our faith?  Are we teaching our children so they can lead out and usher in the coming of our Lord?  Again, Am I fortifying my children in faith and teaching them to stand up and be confident in their knowledge of the Savior and His plan for them?  I can only hope, pray and act on faith that I am. 


2011 Family Pictures...Lots & Lots!!!

The Good, The Bad & The....Goofy!

Grandma & Grandpa

He's lookin' good!

Mentoring Mothers: Empathize & Respond

We had a wonderful Mentoring Mothers Meeting last week where we discussed the Mentoring principles of Empathizing and Responding to those we teach (particularly our chidren!). Here are some brief notes on what was discussed:

What helps you to be more empathetic?


recognize our natural gifts at empathizing and using them

pray to be humble

don't multi-task

be more aware of the subtle & simple

put aside selfishness (what I want to do right now vs. they need me)

One mother expressed our own need to be recharged by them. So, if your child wants to do something with them or needs to be listened to, let the answer be yes (right then or set a different specific time to meet together). This will revive you, too. :-)

What is the first thing to go when life gets a bit chaotic?


Time for me

Health (sleeping and eating habits)

This reminded us that though the world teaches a false sense of needing "me time" we still do need to remember to give ourselves permission to meet our own needs an dhave empathy for ourselves as well. The "You, not Them" principle of TJEd teaches us that we are important and sets the environment in our homes. Again, not in the selfish way of only devoting time to ourselves, but in an orderly way that allows us to then meet the needs of our children.

How do we learn to listen better?

though we need to be reasonable, sometimes we need to simply force ourselves to stop and listen

slow down

have an orderly environment (keep some empty space in your home, you can't have order in physical space if you don't have order in your relationships & finances, etc.)

mentally being present

eye contact makes all the difference!

We also took a tangent to talk about raising self-reliant children and remembering that we need to train them and not just expect things from them. Leading our children to scriptures and prayer by doing so when helping them solve their own problems. Another good way in responding to them is by asking questions such as "What are you going to do about it?" and "What do you need from me?" This will help them to trust you, the relationship and give them confidence that they can work through the problem.

Kunich & Lester stated 4 ways in which we can positively respond:

1. Mentors must truly listen

2. An effective mentor must

3. A mentor should be available much of the time

4. A responsive mentor does not merely react to a protege, but is proactive...[and] anticipate needs, problems and concerns.

Books Mentioned

The Duggars: 20 and Counting!: Raising One of America's Largest Families--How they Do It by the Duggars

7 Habits of Highly Effective People (especially chapter 5) - Stephen R. Covey

I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better - Joy & Gary Lundberg


Home Sweet Home

I just spent a fabulous 2 1/2 weeks away from home...one trip to North Carolina (just me and my sisters) and then a week and a half in Utah to visit my family there...including my 95 year old grandmother. So fun! We did some hiking at Zion's National Park, some visiting and LOTS of driving.

We got home just in time for the kids to throw on their Halloween costumes, do some door knocking for candy and then home again to watch our scary movie of the year, Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Didn't scare the kids a bit (but they did all want to sleep upstairs, go figure). :-)

As you can imagine the last two weeks have been all about getting life put back together and getting the kids (and myself) back into a "normal" (???) routine! :-)


Life as it Happens or Make Life Happen?

This morning we had another great Mentoring Mothers meeting.  It was all about goal-setting (and a bunch of other stuff in between).  It made me really think about my goals and what I really do want to achieve each day and in my life.  I stumbled upon a new favorite blog in the process of finding good fodder for the discussion today.  It's fabulous!  One of my favorite quotes from there states something like this:  "Don't get so caught up in doing the mundane that you fail to do the miraculous."  I like that.  I want to implement that frame of thinking more in my day to day living.

The author of this blog also uses the phrase, "intentional motherhood."  Are we letting time, life and craziness happen or are we making things happen in our day that are good,wholesome, and rewarding?

I have big goals, dreams, wishes...whatever you want to call them.  I do.  So big that sometimes my husband just laughs and has to pull me out of the clouds and back to planet earth (like the time I dreamed our family could ride bikes across country some day....could happen....maybe).  ???  Anyway, I think I just don't want to look back and say these phrases:

I wish I had....
Where did the time go?
What did I do back then?
How did I get here?
What did I accomplish?

Intentional living.  Making plans.  Setting goals.  Doing things instead of just dreaming things (okay, still standing on solid ground...easily distracted).   I was reminded about one aspect of goal-setting this morning.  Goals need to be attainable, realistic, worthwhile and have a timetable.  As said before I am a planner...but what if the planning weren't so far out there in the future, but more day to day.  Big goals are GREAT and necessary, but not at the expense of and really, only as a guide for what can be happening today.

I love,love, love this post from Kat at Inspired to Action on How to be an Amazing Mom Today:

Step 1: (1 minute) Write down 1 characteristic you want to describe you as a mom.

Step 2: (1 minute) Write down 1 characteristic you hope your children have as they go off to college.

Step 3: (3 minutes) Write down 2 simple ways you can invest in those today.

Don’t over think it. Just write it. Then do it.


Pictures Anyone?!?!

Meet Our Smiliest Kid Yet!!!

This was funny to me because this was his constant position while in the womb and it's how he continued to sleep for the first few months.

And I couldn't resist a picture or two of my six crazy kiddies all together.  CRAZY like their Mama!!!
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