Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heart vs. Head

Lately I have been really taking time to reflect on the things that I have learned over the years. I know that we all learn lessons that help form and shape us into the people we are and that just because we learn or realize something, doesn't mean that we always know how to implement those things into our lives.

It is not what happens to you, but how you respond internally to what happens to you, that determines your thoughts and feelings, mind power, and, ultimately, your actions. By controlling your inner dialogue, or “self-talk,” you can begin to assert control over every other dimension of your life.

Some people are Romantics by nature and let their hearts dictate their actions, disregarding their heads and  others are more logical, maybe even cynical relying on their "knowledge", disregarding their gut feelings and moving forward with what seems to be a "given". Whichever way we as human beings go, there seems to be a never ending battle between what we feel and what we think.

So it has been with me lately. As my life was once again turned upside down, I immediately reverted back to the "logical" and, I'm not proud to say, maybe even cynical side of myself. Self-doubt has found its way back into my head and, at times, all of the wisdom and previous lessons-learned seemed to had flown out the window leaving me left with nothing but angst and despair.

Thank goodness for time! As these few days have passed, I have been blessed with the opportunity to really do some deep soul-searching and reflection. All of the things I have shared with others in the past who are in my same position came flooding back to me creating confusion in my mind. I have shared my story and even shared the lessons and epiphanies I thought I had internalized and woven into the fabric of my very being...or so I thought.

It's interesting how things are tested when life seems to fall apart. Your head can anticipate hurt that your heart would never suspect. Your heart can hope for beauty that your head could never even imagine. The trick is to listen to both. Your heart can be dangerously naieve and your head can be dangerously cynical. You’ve got to balance what makes sense with what feels right.

How do you do this?? I am working on it and taking each day one day at a time. Sounds trite, but it's the only way I know of to "muddle" through the junk in my head and find the answers in my heart. I know they are there.

So let me just take this opportunity to say that I am surrounded by amazing people in my life. I have wonderful, supportive daughters who show their love and support daily. They are living their lives and doing the very best they can making me a proud mama. They care and they are honest with me...not always an easy thing...I have an awesome husband who is always there for me and is unconditional in his love, not only for me but for my childrens as well. I have fabulous parents, friends, neighbors and church leaders. I am blessed beyond measure!

Thank you for the kind words and prayers that many of you have sent my way. They have great value and are precious to me. I take the sweet words of counsel and advice very seriously because I truly believe that one of our "missions" in life is to gather up our "brothers & sisters" and share our lives with each other. We all have trials and we all have challenges that seem insurmountable at times. I can attest to the fact that support from those around me is what has sustained me during some of my darkest hours.

And finally, I would be extremely ungrateul if I neglected to mention the grace of the Lord in my life. During the past few days of frustration, confusion and at times pain and great saddness, He and He alone has held me up. I am reminded of one of my very favorite scriptures found in Isaiah:

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed: for I am God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
Isaiah 41:10

And let me just end with a thought that was sent to me in an email...I don't know who said this; I don't even remember who sent it to me but it resonnated with me and has sent comfort my way...

"May You Always Feel Loved”

May you find serenity & tranquility in a world you may not always understand..

May the pain you have known and conflict you have experienced give you the strength to walk through life facing each new situation with courage & optimism..

Always know that there are those whose love & understanding will always be there, even when you feel most alone..

May you discover enough goodness in others to believe in a world of peace..

May a kind word, a reassuring touch, a warm yours every day of your life, & may you give these gifts as well as recieve them..

Remember the sunshine when the storm seems unending..

Teach love to those who know hate & let that love embrace you as you go into the world..

May the teaching of those you admire become part of you, so that you may call upon them..remember, those whose lives you have touched & who have touched yours are always a part of you..even if the encounters were less than you would have is the content of the encounter that is more important than its form..

May you not become too concerned with material matters, but instead place immeasurable value on the goodness in our heart..

Find time each day to see the beauty & love in the world around you..

Realize that each person has limitless abilities, but each of us is different in our own way..what you may feel you lack in one regard may be more than compensated for in another..what you feel you lack in the present may become one of your strengths in the future..

May you see your future as one filled with promise & possibility..learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience..

May you find enough inner strength to determine your own worth by yourself, & not be dependent on anothers judgement of your accomplishments..

May you always feel loved.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Tyler; The Latest

I so wish I could update on my sweet boy with a truly positive post. I have in the past and hope to again in the future. But, sadly, this isn't one of those posts.

Saturday morning at precisely 1:47 AM, I was awakened by my phone ringing. I was in a very deep sleep and when I heard the voice on the other end, I was snapped into reality real quick. It was a recording telling me that I had a call from an inmate, then I heard Tyler say his name. My heart dropped.

I tried to remain calm. I said hello, asked him what happened and he proceeded to tell me that he was pulled over earlier that night and arrested because his license had been suspended and he had "paraphernalia" in his car...

One thing about a drug addict is that when they tell you something, 99% of the time they are lying or at the very least, they are not telling you the WHOLE truth. So we spoke a few minutes. He gave me the phone number to a bail bondsman and said to call them in the morning because his bail would only be $28.00 !!

With the experience I've had with Ty, I called the jail instead and asked what his charges were. I was told that it was: Paraphernalia which is a misdemeanor and...wait for it...Possession! which is a 2nd class Felony. No, his bail was not $28.00 (that only applied to the paraphernalia) and in fact, there was NO BAIL until Monday morning (this morning) when a judge would decide what it should be.

So yes, he lied to me...again! At least I knew it and made the call. So I had to wait for him to call me back since I couldn't call him. He finally did on Sat. night and I explained to him that he was there for the weekend. I informed him of his charges (he just sighed) and his explanation was that he and a "buddy" were driving downtown, a cop flipped a U-turn and followed him for a few miles. He was pulled over and the cop informed him that his car wasn't properly registered. He pulled out his registration (which according to him was valid) and the cop saw tin foil with residue of heroin. So he was arrested and brought into jail.

I asked him if he was high to which he immediately fessed up and said "yes" and I asked him how long he had been using to which he replied, "2 weeks".

So, there you have it. I now have a son in jail awaiting a bail hearing and I have informed him that I will NOT bail him out. I seriously want to SCREAM...

Yesterday we had a most inspiring Sacrament meeting at church. The first young man (19 years old) is just leaving to serve the Lord for a two year mission. This means that he will be away from his family, NO dating, 24/7 service and complete devotion to the people of his mission. He spoke of the reasons he was going on a mission and had us all laughing and crying at the same time. He talked about his preparation all of his life to embark on this amazing journey he is about to take and that he knew that he was immature, needed to grow up and was ready to submit his will to the Lord's so that he could become a successful missionary. It was beautiful...

The next young man (21 years old) had just returned from his 2 year mission and spoke of his experiences while he was gone. His testimony of faith, prayer, service and love for the Savior was completely awe inspiring. He shared uplifting stories of some of the people he met and served while he was away and his great love for all he came to know. When he was finishing his talk, I watched as he choked up with emotion because the love in his heart for the Lord was almost more than he could contain. He so eloquently expressed his great love and appreciation for the atonement and the humility in his words was overwhelming. I sobbed!

My heart swelled with joy for the mothers of these two fine young men who have made choices in their lives that have led them to great experiences and gave/will give, them each two of the best years of their lives. They are good boys who don't smoke, drink, do drugs. They abstain from sex and strive for excellence. I am so proud of both of them and know that they are each destined for greatness as they continue to walk down the path of righteousness.

Then my thoughts turned 180° and I saw my sweet, troubled boy sitting in a cold cement jail cell with his head down turned and completely distraught. My heart ached and the tears came. I almost had to get up and leave because the pain was so great in my heart.

The contrast between these young men is staggering and it all boils down to CHOICE. My son made ONE choice that started him on this dark and destructive path to slavery and devastation. Now the consequences are almost too much for him to pay. The other two boys made a series of great choices that have led them both down a path that can ultimately lead them to eternal happiness if they continue to make decisions in the same vein.

I will never give up on my son. I adore him and love him more than I can begin to express. But the disappointment that I feel is bigger than I ever imagined. The heartache and pain that he has caused our family seems unsurmountable at times...but we are strong and we will continue to endure.


Monday, May 9, 2011

White Crayons

Have you ever used the White Crayon in a box of 64 brilliant,colorful crayons? me they have always seemed kind of pointless. Having said that, I have grown to learn the value and even appreciate the magnificence of this highly un-loved and often overlooked wax creation.

But, have you ever used one on a white hard boiled egg at Easter? I showed it to a few of my *Littles*. They drew their creations on each egg without being able to really see what they had done, looking at me like I was crazy for handing them the transparent crayon. They dropped the egg in the cup and waited for what seemed to be forever for their precious masterpiece to be complete. But the surprise in their eyes when they finally pulled the egg out, was worth the wait and priceless!

Life is sometimes like a white crayon...Brad and I made a very difficult career decision one year ago that deeply affected the both of us. At the time, we weighed all of our options and made the best decision we felt that we could make, knowing that our life would be changed forever...and that was OK, just difficult.

So we moved forward and it seemed much like the Easter Egg with the artwork made by the seemingly invisible coloring instrument. There was much to learn and new things to explore. Brad was opened up to an entirely different world and product and had to learn the ins-and-outs of something quite foreign to him. Often, we waited for the hard work to pay off and sometimes it seemed like it would take forever!

The best part of this new journey that we embarked on last year, is that now we are seeing the amazing fruits of our labors. It has taken what seems to have been an eternity, but the miracles and lessons learned along the way are more than worth all of the initial fear and trepidation that we both experienced.

At times the road was rocky we both seemed to be at a loss when we came to the proverbial crossroad. But knowing that the future was ahead of us, we persevered and made the turn that we felt best about. It ALWAYS paid off! That's the miracle of this whole thing...

We have crossed a few bumpy roads and have taken a few detours that slowed us down a bit. We've had a few "fender benders", but the road, with all of its pot-holes and diversions got us to our destination. People have come into our lives that have edified us more than we ever thought imaginable.

Now the "egg" is out of the dye. We can now see the stunning beauty of the "White Crayon" and that the art work that we initially worked so hard to create is now becoming a masterpiece. So my view of the white crayon has changed. On white paper it disappears, but white is only one option of paper out of hundreds of choices of colors, and on every other color, it is significant!


Happy Mother's Day

“Everywhere in nature we are taught the lessons of patience and waiting. We want things a long time before we get them, and the fact that we want them a long time makes them all the more precious when they come.”
~Joseph F. Smith-

As Mother's Day has come and gone, I just want to express some thoughts about being a mother and having a mother.

First and foremost, I have an amazing mom! She is currently a full-time caretaker for my sweet dad AND works full time as a violinist in the Utah Symphony! She never complains and she rarely misses work. Her love for my father is abundant and she graciously accepts her stewardship in taking great care of him.

Last Thursday, I received a phone call from my father saying that they were on their way up to Midway (where I live). Midway is a lovely small town with a Swiss flavor. Many tourists flock up here to enjoy the sheer beauty of this magnificent place. So it is only natural that my parents LOVE to come up her to escape the craziness of the, we're just a short 1 hour drive for them.

When they arrived, my mother looked tired. I asked her if she was OK to which she responded, "I'm fine, just a little tired. I had a rehearsal today and when I got home, dad needed to get out of the house."

I knew that she would have rather relaxed at home and not had to make the drive (after all, she is 80!!) but she graciously packed him up (no easy fete) and made the trek!

She has always been an example of selfless service. She is the HARDEST worker I have ever known and no matter what, she tries to put her family first. I am proud to be called her daughter and I love her very much!

As a mother myself, I have learned that bearing the children is the easy part! So this is what I have learned about being a Mother::

1. You have to let go of the things that really don't matter. Focus on the important moments in the lives of your children. Yes, this requires some sacrifice at times.

2. A messy house does not mean you're a bad mom, it may mean the opposite; I used to be so intense about my house cleaning. I am a neat freak to the max and when my kids were little I was worse than I am today! One day my neighbor came over and fussed at me saying, "Mary, a Family Room is exactly that...a FAMILY ROOM, now let your kids play!!" I got it and my kids were much happier...

3. As I said earlier, bearing the children is the easy part..true! Raising them is a 24/7/365 job that requires constant attention.

4. Take advantage of "Teaching Moments"; I have tried to look for opportunities to teach from actual in-the-moment experiences. My children learned best this way and it meant that I had the responsibility to be "in-tune" to the Spirit so that I could effectively share moments with each child that would leave a life-long lasting impression on them.

5. Be their greatest advocate! Nobody loves your child as much as you do...plain and simple! I remember my son, Tyler, suffered from some extreme asthma at times. I would have to rush him into the ER as he was gasping for each precious breath of life. One time, we were put in a room, they put O2 on him and left. We waited and waited. This sweet boy was still struggling and fighting for each breath. I had to go find a nurse, interrupt her personal conversation and get her to call the doctor. She was annoyed...I didn't care...the doc came in, he adjusted the flow and then apologized to me for making us wait. His levels were dangerously low...

6. Teach them that "Life isn't Fair!"...I teach the 10 year olds in church and sometimes I bring treats. I was told recently that I should make sure they finish the treat before they go home because some mothers hate that one child got a treat and the other didn't...I say, "get over's not fair" I totally heartless? I remember those moments with my children where one came home from a birthday party with a goodie bag and the other wanted one too...usually the one with the bag shared, if not, the other one eventually got over it and moved on...

7. I haven't always loved the choices that my children have made, but I have ALWAYS loved the child!

8. Children are "on loan" so to speak, from a divine Heavenly Father above. They come to this earth perfect and it is my responsibility to teach, nurture and love them as much as I am possibly able. I am not superior to them, just a bit older and wiser with a great stewardship over them. And yes, they are constantly teaching me!

9. Motherhood is exhausting! It requires an inordinate amount of stamina even when you feel you have nothing left to give. You just keep giving and giving and then the reward keep coming and coming!

10. Motherhood is a calling...yes, it's a job with seemingly no pay and benefits at times, but in fact, motherhood pays better than any Fortune 500 company could possibly dream of paying. It is a divine calling that must be taken seriously. We will all have failures and we will all beat ourselves up for them, but the payoff is totally worth it.

I love being a mother. I have had many ups and downs on my journey of motherhood. Many tears of agony have been shed but many tears of joy have been spilt. My children are the crowning jewels in my life. I love all of them and embrace their uniqueness as a true celebration of who they really are. The joys they bring to me are unmeasurable and I know that they love me. Maybe I have failed more than I have succeeded, but I have tried and tried to be a good mother. Now I revel in watching the sweetness of my daughters mother their precious children. Yes, they make mistakes too, but their children ADORE them and when it comes right down to it, they want their mommy!

I heard this the other day, "I've carried a baby within my body. I've slept with a baby on my chest. I have kissed boo-boos, mended broken hearts, been puked on, peed on and pooped on & spent sleepless nights in a rocking chair. But I wouldn't have it any other way. My body is far from perfect but when I look into the mirror, I see a mom and there is no greater honor or blessing."

God bless all Mothers! We are all great because everyday we wake up and we try and try and try...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kissing Cousins

I made a trip up to Idaho last week to see my daughter Brittany and her family. Since it's only a 4 hour drive, I decided to take Stella with me so she could see her, it gave Aja a little break.

The drive up there really isn't too bad and once we were there, we had a great time.

Anthony and Brooklyn were THRILLED to see Stella and promptly took her downstairs to play. Since Stella is only 3, I worried that she might get homesick for her mommy but she was a trooper and was so busy playing with Anthony & Brooklyn that she didn't have time to think about anything else.

I brought the kids Bubble Guns...they were a hit!

Our trip was short. We only stayed one night, but it was priceless! I ADORE all of my *Littles*. It's so difficult because I see 3 of them everyday since they live around the corner, but I don't get to see Anthony & Brooklyn too often and it KILLS me...

I absolutely soaked up all the hugs and kisses that I possibly could in a 24 hour period...and they were a lot! Both of those sweet children are very loving and affectionate and they melt my heart! It's very difficult to live apart, but I feel the sweetest bond with them and absolutely cherish each moment I have with them.

Saying "good-bye" just about killed me, but I know I will see them soon...