Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Once a Parent, Always a Parent

It never ends. We give birth to them and experience the pains of childbirth, then we go through years and years of nurturing, teaching, struggling with our own level of confidence in knowing how to parent these priceless children, hoping that above all else, we teach them what they need to know to be able to stand with a firm testimony when making eternal covenants to return to a loving and patient Heavenly Father.
Was that a long sentence? Well, it's a long process...a process that I am just learning with which we are never finished. But that's a good thing. I love my children. I have loved the joys, struggles, fun memories and heartaches that we have experienced in a parent/child relationship.
As young children, Del was the better parent. He was much more patient in the teaching and setting the example for that stage in their lives. I was more the 'change the diaper', 'get them where they needed to be and when they needed to be there', 'meet all their TEMPORAL needs' parent.
Now, we have switched roles a little. I am now the parent that they need...not to say they don't NEED Del, but they relate better to me in their teenage years. This is a daunting task. Del struggles with having patience with them right now while I am much more understanding and patient of their needs and wants.
But then the balance comes in. There has never been a time or situation where both of us as parents have not been needed. The Lord never intended for our children to only have one parent...so AS parents, we have to see our role in each situation.
We have learned over the years when it has been necessary for one parent to take the lead over the other parent in certain situations. I tend to be more patient and understanding of my son Jordan while Del seems to have a special connection with Kylie that I can't seem to find with her. It continues now into their adult years. Then Kathryn was RAISED by her daddy because I didn't have the patience or the desire to answer the MILLION and one questions she had EVERY day of her life. She thrived on learning - so Del told her stories - from the Book of Mormon, from the Bible, from HIS childhood and then one's he just made up. Our children relished the time Del spent with them, playing with them, tossing them in the air, teaching them skills and their nightly going to bed rituals. They have never forgotten those moments with their dad.
Now, as older children, they don't NEED that part of their parents anymore - they want someone to listen to THEM now..they want some independence to now put into practice all that their parents have taught them. They want to test the waters and see how they can swim. They want to SOAR after being taught how to fly.
That's the hardest part about the gospel principle of 'teaching them correct principles and let them govern themselves'. So difficult...It's our parental instinct to rescue them from consequences or possibilities of pain and disappointment. And as they get even older and their choices and decisions become even more important in the eternal realm of things, it's almost impossible to step back and become only a cheerleader and observer in this stage of their lives.
But, that is exactly what we must do. Not to abandon them, but to allow them the learning process of obedience and receiving the blessings of that obedience, OR the making of an unwise choice and the consequences that they may have to suffer because of that choice.
As young children and even into their teenage years, it may seem simple enough to raise these spirits in the gospel. But then, as their teenage years arrive and they begin to have opinions and ideas of their own is when I feel the special need of my Heavenly Fathers CONSTANT guidance - the promptings from the Holy Ghost become the most important communication I have all day and the youth leaders in the ward and stake become the lifeline to both my children and Del and I surviving another day.
I will always be Jordan, Kylie and Kathryn's mother. I may not always be their friend, or best example of righteousness, or the one they turn to in a time of crisis.
But, I will always be a parent - their parent - their mother. My calling as their mother is eternal. Some days, that seems like a VERY long time.
And then other days, it doesn't seem near long enough.
Today is one of those days...not near long enough.

Not Just a Dumb Blond!!!

The Miss USA pageant carried with it some great controversy this year. And KUDOS to you Miss California!!!! Although, when it came down to the final two, and Miss California lost, I truly believe she WON in sooo many other ways.
The controversy?? When asked a very poignant question about gay marriage, she spoke the truth, boldly gave her opinion and lost the pageant because of it. That's not just MY opinion, but that's what the news and headlines are saying too; that supposedly, she didn't represent what The REST of the United States feels on the issue. But I take issue with that....I believe she DOES represent what the rest of our country feels and believes and she was in a public, nationally spotlighted position to express that view and DID IT!!
Here, we take these women who are raised and taught to be strong, opinionated representatives of our country, ask them to be beautiful, smart, educated and to speak their minds with truth in front of cameras, flashbulbs and the media world and please everyone...and then THIS is her result??? It's not that the winner was any prettier or any more poised or educated than Miss California. The winner won because Miss California didn't say what others wanted her to say and SHE lost. Truthfully, I was impressed with both girls...both beautiful blonds, both eloquent in their responses and both very educated and refined. (both immodestly dressed, but THAT's a 'given' these days :().
To our country and to those who believe they judged justly in the Miss USA pageant??? You missed on this one. You gave the opinion NOT of our country, but the small 7 people that you were...chosen because of your FAME, not your intelligence. ANYONE can choose beauty...but you were confused when that beauty was combined with an opinion of truth that offended your own. It's sad you didn't reward Miss California for her values of honesty and morality instead of how she 'hurt your feelings'. Not everyone in life will agree or think the same as those who are asked to judge them. Thank heavens.
So, KUDOS to the California blond who proved that you don't have to say what others want to hear, you CAN take a stand on your righteous beliefs and you CAN still come out a winner, with or without the diamond crown. YOU GO GIRL!!!

In the Middle of the Night

The older I get, the less I am able to sleep through the night. I have restless leg syndrome plus I just toss and turn most of the night. So recently, I have been just getting up and watching some t.v., reading or I get on the computer.
On KBYU, it has been having this series of reports on what is called 'The Joseph Smith Papers', a project being done by members of the church, collecting all of Joseph Smith's writings and journals. I have now watched about 8-10 episodes of this project and it has been soooo fascinating and interesting to hear some of the details that even I, over my 49 years of being in the church, never understood to be part of church history. And I am LOOOOVVVING it!!! Joseph Smith has always, in my eyes, been such a hero of the Restoration of the gospel, but I am seeing so much more of who he was and what he went through to restore the Lord's church here to the earth. Not just the common boy who became a persecuted man, but he was truly chosen and prepared. What a strengthening of my testimony this program has been for me. I am looking forward to this Joseph Smith project being completed. It will be quite expensive to purchase, but something that I think will be treasured to have in my limited church library.

I am truly grateful to the scholars who are making this available to us other members of the church that don't have either the resources or time to gather this material on our own. A real blessing.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sweet Whisperings

I have lived too hectic and worldly a life to receive continual promptings and revelations from the spirit. So, over the past few months, mainly from the beginning of the year, I have made a significant effort to slow my life down, re-adjust some of my schedule and prioritize the events in my life to allow me the blessing of QUIET TIME - a time where I PUT myself in the position to petition the Lord and the spirit for answers and communication - a true relationship with them both.
I work full time, outside the home. I also work many hours IN the home. It has been enlightening to see what I used to consider 'important' or even 'necessary' in my life. Some of them still are but have now been placed in their appropriate place and order. And as I hoped and desired, I have felt more often and specifically the sweet whisperings of the Lord's spirit. I have specifically set aside Friday's as my 'day of enlightening', where I don't work OUTSIDE my home, I don't work INSIDE my home but instead, set aside my day as the time I will do things and think of things that will place me in a position to receive answers to my prayers.
Yesterday turned out to be such a day. It was raining, my house was already clean, I had dinner planned and started ahead and I made homemade cookies as an expression of love for Del and Kathryn. Because I was up early enough to accomplish all those things by 10;00 am, I spent the remainder of my day pondering some questions I had in the scriptures, writing down some thoughts I had questions about and even took a restful nap in the early afternoon. By the time Kathryn came home from school, I felt full - fulfilled - calm and renewed. And I hadn't even been able to go to the temple as I hoped...no car. That will have to come next week.
I am appreciative to my Heavenly Father that I have a full time job that allows me to help in our family financial situation. But in that job, I am also grateful that I have Friday's off, that my day ends when I choose to be done, that I have the flexibility with this job to be home sick with me, Kathryn or Del, that I can truly come and go as I will. So, with all of that, I have tried to not complain as much that I even HAVE to work. It's a blessing Del and I still have jobs. There are some, in the very near future, who will not have that blessing.
So, I cherish my moments of sweet whisperings and the increased frequency in which they come. The more I allow them, the more they will become a more constant occasion in my life. It eliminates so much of the anxiety and stress that I had been living and now brings more focus to those things that are important in my life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A History Lesson

Last night, instead of watching the regular evening sitcoms, I chose to watch a special documentary about the Holocaust and then the hundred's of thousands of Jews who were killed in WW1/WW2. I was quite emotional as I heard some of the dreadful details of the executing and burning of so many of the Jews and I was quite somber.
Enter Kathryn, who is currently studying World History in school, WW1/2 to be exact. And for the following 30 minutes, she shared what she had been learning at school including names, dates and countries involved in the whole story. Several moments, I found myself with my jaw dropped to the floor as she gave such a detailed story of the events of this world war. She knew the countries involved, the leaders of those countries and their role in the war. She knew dates, places and situations that triggered the start of the war...and she knew the victims and their tender stories. Needless to say, she cast a whole new light on the story I had been watching on t.v., and both her dad and I were extremely impressed. I sooo much enjoyed her contribution to my learning experience.
Thanks Kathryn.

The List

So, there's a list with the names of all those who will interview with the visiting General Authorities in the search for our new Stake President. As of right now, there are 28 names on the list. Of course, it consists of the names of the the members of the stake presidency, all the Bishop's in the stake, the stake patriarch and the members of the High Council. This will include Del. Then, if inspired to do so, these priesthood leaders may expand this list to include anyone they feel so inspired to include. Over the years and in the various callings where Del has served, he has had the blessing of being included 'on the list' soley because of his current calling. As in the past, it has always been a sweet and spiritual experience for him just to sit with these wonderful men who are sent to choose the priesthood leadership of a stake and to feel of their love as they fulfill their responsibility.
I look at this list and I'm amazed at the depth of goodness that is in this list of men. The list isn't secret; it's the same list given to the visiting G.A.'s every time a new Stake President is needed. Of course, as soon as the announcement was made that we would need a new Stake President, the topic of conversation has been about 'the list'. Some stake members have a 'short' list - some of us others have a fairly long list from which are many worthy men. We have such a strong priesthood representation in our stake - good, worthy and loyal men with firm and devoted testimonies of our Savior.
So, with so many priesthood holders worthy of this calling, how does the Lord determine which man is called?
I then look at the needs of the members of our stake. Do we need a soft spoken, quiet, yet strong example as our leader? Or, do we need a powerful, 'call to repentance' and weeding out leader who will take us forward to the next level of obedience to the Lord's commandments? Or, is there an in-between need of the members of our stake? The need to have confidence in a strong leader who has a tender heart??? I see our current stake presidency as just that scenario. Pres. Dotter is a 'take the bull by the horns' type of guy. Then Pres. Alleman as a teddy bear, soft spoken and mild. Then Jonathan Roberts is our 'in the middle' guy..who meets the needs of each end of the spectrum. Is that what we still need??
I'm so grateful to a Heavenly Father who KNOWS our needs and will call whom He feels will lead and guide the members of this Frisco Stake . I'm grateful Del will just have the opportunity to meet one on one with these great men and be able to feel of their love as they serve our Father in Heaven.
I'm jealous, but look forward to Del coming home and sharing the spiritual experience with me. I've been so blessed in recent weeks to be able to share in the beautiful spiritual experiences of others, who have been so kind to share them with me. They have been both uplifting and inspiring as I hear of the spirit strengthening their testimonies through truth filled moments. And I've had a few of my own that have been sweet and tender but certainly not BLOG material, so I have kept them in their appropriate place. But, as I attend the temple more often, I enjoy these experiences a little more frequently and have begun to be most grateful for the Lord's tender mercies that He extends on a daily basis. He truly does know and love each of us.
So, next week, as Del prepares for his interview, I will pray for him and the other men who get the unique opportunity that is only extended to a lucky few.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Glimpse from Beverly J

I've mentioned a few times that Beverly Roberts was my roommate at BYU before we each got married. What wonderful memories...and we've stayed in touch over the many years and now, have had the opportunity to live near each other for the past 6 years.
Bev J, as I call her, has always been very dear to my heart. Today though, I thank her for sharing an hour with me in relating the events of the past few months and her husband, Jonathan's new call as an Area Authority.
They received the call over 2 months ago and were asked to tell no-one. Can you imagine? Knowing something like that and having to just wait for more information, more details, more time before they could tell anyone or do anything about it. She said they had many tender private moments between the two of them, waiting for the opportunity to finally be able to move forward with the calling.
They went up to Salt Lake early as they were invited to participate in days of training and learning literally at the feet of the prophet, his counselors, member of the Twelve and Seventy and their wives. She said they were in a continual state of 'awe and wonder' as they tried to absorb all that their lives would be over the next 5 years. They were taught sooo much and relished in the companionship of the 'brethren'.
I just cried - over and over I cried as Bev shared these precious moments of meeting wives of newly called men from all parts of the world...the littlest sister from Kenya, who had probably been no further away from her home than the 10 miles it took to walk to the nearest store...or the sisters from Asia, Japan, Germany, South America and just all parts of the world. There they all were, being taught by the wives of the twelve apostles and wives of the presidents of the quorum of Seventy. Bev shared how Elder Bednar ordained and set Jonathan apart and then they went off to Priesthood meeting while Sister Bednar invited Bev to go to dinner.
She mentioned how these wives of the general Authorities were so nurturing and comforting to all the new sisters in teaching them their role in their husbands new callings. Some of these men have had their callings for years, or been previous mission presidents or more - and Bev expressed, so humbly, how she felt so 'out of her league'. My heart swelled with love for her as I shared with her that she was exactly where she was supposed to be...at the side of her righteous husband; that Jonathan IS who he is in part because of his dear wife Beverly.
I can't share all that was discussed because there was just sooo much she shared...the people, the discussions, the instruction given etc... She was so thoughtful to share what she did, making it just a beautiful conclusion to the already wonderful General Conference weekend I had experienced. I did share with her, that for the first time in my life, I had experienced an immediate spiritual witness to the calling of a priesthood leader, and how wonderful it had been for me that it was about Jonathan.
I love Jonathan and Beverly and will watch excitedly over the next 5 years, their growth and service in this calling. Such special people who hold such a tender place in my heart.
Thank you Bev J for that sacred hour we shared today.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

One of our Own Good Men

This is Jordan, with Jonathan Roberts at Jordan's high school graduation. I've known Jonathan for 26 years now. He married Beverly 'J', my BYU roommate. Their son Mark is Jordan's best friend and we've had a fond relationship with them and their family for many many years. Yesterday, I cried when they announced Jonathan Roberts name as a new Area Seventy in General Conference. Jonathan has been serving as our Stake President here in Texas since we moved here over 6 years ago. He's a good good man. One of our own. And his wife Beverly, my dear friend, is just as good. We will miss Jonathan terribly as our stake president, but what a great opportunity for more people to come to know and love him as we do.
We also had a new apostle called to the Quorum of the Twelve - Elder Neil Anderson, who replaces Elder Joseph Worthlin who passed away last year. What wonderful men the Lord is calling to serve in these latter days. The Lord is so aware of our needs and desires to call such men to lead and guide us. I feel total love and confidence in these priesthood leaders, our prophet and the other members of the Twelve. It will be most interesting to see who is now called to lead our Frisco Stake. There are sooo many who could...or can, when the Lord calls them. We will love them just as we do Jonathan - Elder Roberts.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Medicine for my Owieee

When I was young, my mother had either homemade bread OR homemade cookies almost every day when we came home from school. What great treats. One of my favorite cookies was my mothers homemade oatmeal cookies...that, of course, was if the cookie dough ever reached the cookie sheet and into the oven.
The top picture? A roll of homemade oatmeal cookie dough...in the freezer, just like mom used to have. And the gradual eating of the 'roll' has begun. Yep, I go in and open the Seran wrap and take off a chunk of it and eat it - raw. Then I wrap it back up. One of my brothers and I used to eat all the cookie dough from the outside freezer in the garage. I used to wonder if my mother knew, or if she had always just forgotten about the roll of dough out there gradually being chiseled away at. She HAD to have known! How do you forget?
Well, the cookie dough in my freezer is serving as my medicine for my most current surgery today. OUCH!! I put on the topical anesthesia the Dr. gave me to help numb the spot where the injection would be, but it obviously did NOTHING as my eyes swelled with tears as he gave me the injection. Holy crud, it hurt. I was holding Del's hand and he said he knew it hurt as my fingernails DUG into his hand. The actual surgery part of scrapping and burning out the cancer cells, was not too bad. I could smell the burning of the skin on my lip and then felt the pressure of him digging out what he called the 'soft cancer cells'. It's amazing to me how much of it is done by 'touch', cancer cells 'feeling' different than non cancer skin.
The anesthesia wore off quickly and before I left the office, the pain and stinging of the site was INTENSE. I was crying. My body was shaking a little trying to keep my mind off the intense pain. I cried all the way home, took pain pills immediately and went to bed. I slept off and on all afternoon and by the time I got up at 5:00, a lot of the swelling had gone down and I was feeling fairly comfortable.
Now, tonight, I am watching BYU men's volleyball and picking in my cookie dough, so I should be good for the night. Swelling continues to go down and I'm hoping by the time I go to bed, that between the reduced swelling and pain pills, I will sleep soundly through the night.
Forehead pathology report was clear - all cancer cleaned out and gone. So I should be declared 'cancer free'. Yippeeee! I'm good to go and will be much more aware from now on of non healing sores or anything 'like unto it'.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You Could Have Fooled Me!!

April Fools...one of my favorite holidays! Growing up, we used to have so much fun playing tricks on family and friends. Short sheeting beds, food coloring in the eggs, cotton in the pancakes and changing the time on our clocks and telling the kids it was lunch time instead of breakfast time. There have been some real fun ones.
Now that we just have Kathryn home, what do we do to her that's not already a joke??? I guess it's time to pass on the torch - to my children of course, to carry on the traditions of their father!! I hope they come up with some good ones that they'll want to share with us, not ON us!!!