Saturday, February 23, 2013

I am Mom

      One of my biggest worries about becoming a single mom, was that I would no longer be able to give my kids all that I had previously given them.  Priorities would need to be adjusted and some things would just have to go.  I was definitely learning how important it is to appreciate what you have, before you have to appreciate what you HAD.  My time would now be divided between four kids, college, a couple of part-time jobs and homework.  My broken heart would be required to secure the emotional needs of an ever-changing family.  Ironically, over the years, much had been given.  Now, with a fraction of the resources and even less time------ much would be required!  The thought was almost paralyzing.  But, I was "Mom", forever, for always and no matter what!!  With the craziness of college at age 46, and dealing with the emotional carnage that often follows family change, I found myself attending half of pack meeting, the first few innings and quarters of games, the tail-end of programs, and just plain feeling like a failure.  I did not like being late, leaving early, missing events entirely and being grumpy because of it.  I so wanted to give my amazing kids my "all!"  They deserved it.  But, I felt as though my all had been lost amidst this family change, and what I was left with was a fraction of myself. And, my kids, left with a portion of that fraction.  One day, a story in the Bible changed me, comforted me, and flooded me with understanding.  Jesus sat over at the treasury.  He watched as the people would come and toss in their money.  He noticed how the rich gave alot.  Then, a poor widow came and she threw in two mites.  Such ancient pennies almost worthless in their time.   Jesus then tells of how the widow gave more than the rich, as "she of her want did cast in ALL that she had."  Not only was the "mite" acceptable, but He was touched and even moved by her desire to give all she had.  And, how did He know that she only had two mites?  Because He knew her!!!  He knows me.  He knows my desire to give, just as He knew hers.  Tearfully, that account reminded me that somedays,  I "mite" only have little resources,  fewer funds and even less time---- but I can still give my "all".  And, it is acceptable!  I am "Mom", forever, for always and no matter what-------  no matter how much or how little I have, I am "Mom."  And, when I really want to feel rich, I count  blessings that money cannot buy----- and what little I "mite" have, turns into just enough!  And, it is acceptable!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Her Shoes

These shoes do not belong to me.  These are her shoes.  She is tall with long legs.  Her shoes add, "princess" to any outfit.  As she is athletic, her calves have just the right curves to show off these glittery heels!  And, as she navigates on such a petite point,  there is no need to worry.  She is sturdy, elegant and precise.  In her shoes, she walks just right.  Now me, I like flats or a hearty, chunky clog.  My legs are short, but I am told I have adorable ankles, so a ballet-type flat, shows them off with class.  Though I love sports, I am comfortable with a little more surface area under my heel, so throughout the day, my flats magnify my confidence.  In my shoes, I know who I am, in hers I am weary and uneasy.  In my shoes, I do not fear.  In her shoes, at any moment, I may lose my balance, unsure and insecure..  When we are talking shoes, it makes complete sense that OUR shoes fit us best.  So, why do find ourselves forever wanting to look like her, cook like her, wear clothes like her?  Why do we want to parent like her, craft like her, clean like her or decorate like her?  We often want her car, her house, her hair and even her body.  Over the years, I have come the conclusion that I need to wear my own shoes--- they will always be more comfortable than "hers!"   In her shoes, my weaknesses are magnified.  My cute, confident and contoured ankles appear wobbly and unsteady, as I try to walk, even a few steps,  in her shoes.  It only takes one person to change your life for the better------YOU!!  I like to apply the Cinderella theory, when I find myself attempting to be something, that perhaps I am not.  If it's meant to be, it will fit perfectly---- no struggling, no forcing and no pain.  How strange it would be if the shoe store shelves were lined with all the same pair of shoes?  The world needs the flats, the tennis shoes, the clogs, the boots, the sandals, and yes, the high heels! The world needs YOU and the world needs me.  We are needed to listen to a friend in a way that no one else can.  We are needed to smile at the exact moment that someone needs that feeling that they, too are important.  We are needed to love our families in a way that we were uniquely and perfectly chosen to do, just for them.  Don't walk a mile in "her" shoes--- walk with her.  And, do it like no one else can.  Dr. Seuss said it best when he said, "You have brains in your head and feet in YOUR shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction YOU choose."  Remember, it only takes one person to change your life for the better------YOU!!  Some say that in the right shoes you can conquer the world.  I would say, in YOUR shoes, the world cannot conquer you!!! 
Be yourself----everyone else is already taken!!   

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Be Mine--dful!!

Valentine's Day can be a challenging day when you are single!!! So, I am approaching tomorrow's celebration with a new attitude. So, Pink has become "Think"---- Think of others. Think of someone who may also be struggling. Think not of myself! "Hearts" remind me of the many other broken hearts around me, for many different reasons. And, perhaps my smile, my phone call, my note, or a favorite treat could heal the heart of another. I decided that rather than searching for someone to "Be Mine" I would BE MINE--DFUL of those around me. I would use this holiday to pay extra attention to my kids. I would BE MINE--DFUL of those in my neighborhood who could use a helping hand. I would BE MINE--DFUL of others who would also be mourning the loss or lack of a Valentine too. And, those sparkling diamonds that are on every ad, commercial and billboard this time of year, remind me that I am a diamond in the rough. Diamonds are just rocks without a lot of work and effort. And, all these experiences that seem challenging are really cutting, shining, refining and defining me into the best Valentine ever. Valentine's truly is a day of love------ so tomorrow, remember ALL those in your life that you love----- and especially those who need to be loved!!

"PINK"-- Think of others!
"HEARTS" --- Help those with broken or empty hearts!
"BE MINE"--- Be mine--dful of those around you who need a helping hand!
"DIAMONDS"---Without work and effort--- a diamond is just a rock!

Happy Valentine's Day---- Be Mine----dful!!

Monday, February 11, 2013


          June of 2005, I was asked, along with one of my very best friends, to participate in a choir, of women from Orem, that would perform in the General Relief Society meeting in Salt Lake, that September. I was told there would be a few practices, and that it would be fun. I agreed to participate.  After all, how hard could it be? I have always loved music, however, prior to this musical debut, my performances had taken place in the shower and in my van.  
          The following Sunday was our first rehersal.  Our conductor was introduced, the music  was presented and then the warm-ups began. I knew, at that moment, I was in B-I-G trouble!! It seemed as though every Opera and Musical Theatre alumni were seated all around me. I silently moved my lips that night, with the intent to withdraw from the experience, as soon as I arrived home.  That night, I picked up the phone to tell them to choose someone else for this choir, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I needed to be there. So, my new attitude and I were off to the next rehersal, the following week. This particular practice was very technical. And, since I did not read music, it might as well have been in Latin. Amidst all the technical and melodic commands, there were a few words I recognized, "strong, weak, strong, weak, strong, weak,"---- and the conductor would motion in and out with her hand, as she repeated those words.  She wanted us to sing in a pattern of loud and soft, strong and weak. She said that this would bring the words of the songs to life, and bring feeling to the listeners. Because of my impression of the importance of this experience, I came home, and asked a friend of mine, with musical expertise, to record my parts to all three songs, so that I could listen to them over and over and over again, with the hopes that I would be able to learn the music and memorize the words in time for the performance.  I practiced and practiced in the shower and in the van. I learned the words and I learned the music! 
          Over and over again, week after week,  we would sing the words to these three inspired pieces of music. "Now let us rejoice!" "How Firm a Foundation." And, "When I Feel His Love"----strong, weak, strong, weak, strong, weak! You could feel the words penetrate the hearts of those in the conference center, that night, as the "strong" and the "weak"  joined their voices, their talents, their hearts and their testimonies, creating a powerful experience for both performer and listener.  That night, I was one of the "weak", uneducated, unexperienced, and under-talented.  However, I was surrounded by the "strong"-- and the "strong" carried me through.  I realized that sometimes I am "weak" and it's ok to rely on the strength of others.  
          I look back on this experience with wonder and awe!  Here I was, no musical talent, in a ward loaded with ability and expertise in this area, yet it was I, who was chosen to participate in such an experience tailored just for me.  I needed to learn and memorize the words to those songs,  so that 5 years later, when my husband left, I could be comforted by the words I had memorized, "Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not dismayed!"  I needed to know, that during the "weak" times in my life, I would be surrounded by the "strong".  And, during one of those empty, lonely nights, I promised, that I would work hard, so that someday, I could be "strong," and use my time, talents, strengths and resources to help others who may feel "weak, " as their Families Change!  Life doesn't get any easier--we just get stronger.  And, as families change, so do we.  And if we stay strong, other's will wonder how we are still smiling and they will want to be strong, too!!

Friday, February 1, 2013


If someone gave you a million dollars, what would you do with it? A brand new car? Vacations? Trips? Shopping spree? Our answers would vary. A professor asked a few students this question, the other day in class, "If I gave you a million dollars, what would you do with it right now?" I have pondered my response for the past few days. I realized that my answers today, are much different than they would have been 3 years ago. Today, I would pay off my kids sports fees at the high school and buy them each a yearbook. I would pay off the few thousand I owe on my van and on a credit card. Then, I would pay my utilites ahead for one year, just so I would not worry about them. I would then pay a friend's utilities for a year, anonymously (did you know you can do that on your bill--- cool huh?) I would pay my tithing. I would put some money away for each of my children to have a college/mission/wedding fund. Then, we would go to Disneyland and the beach, and visit my brother and his family. The rest would sit in the bank, collect interest, so that each year I could do the same. As Families Change so do our priorities and things we treasure. Treasure Timing. He knows us so much better than we know ourselves. He knows our children better than we do. And, as any loving parent, He knows ulimately, what is in our best interest. Two Fridays ago, we were getting ready to attend the High School rival basketball game. Everyone was excited! I sent the boys upstairs to get their jackets and shoes. Soon, the ceiling began to move as the brothers began their regular wrestling match----not always great timing for such events!!! Soon, Adam came down with Garrett in his arms. Garrett's leg had hit the window sil and his knee split open. So, rather than attending the basketball game, I found myself spending Friday night in the doctor's office. As I sat with his leg on my lap, I took a deep breath and thought, "Wow--I sure need a break!" Then, I realized, that's exactly what I got. Rather than worrying about all the game I was missing, it was actually fun to just relax. I have been impressed with His timing, over and over again in my life, through my last minute decision to serve a mission, miscarriage, babies, infertility and the finale--adoption. He knows. We know He knows. The trick is really in learning to Treasure His Timing. Treasure Trials. Where you stumble, look down, there's your treasure! Stumbling blocks or stepping stones? Trials or treasures. I know I can look back at the hardest of times, and that is when I definitely grew the most. Family Change is definitely a trial---- but there are treasures to be had, that could not be found in any other way. X-Experience truly does mark the spot!! With the illness of familiy members comes ultimate service. As loved ones pass away, other relationships are often times stregnthened. With weddings come new relationships that could not come together in any other way. With divorce and any Family Change, dynamics are different, positions change for yet a new game to be played, as a new team, with many new triumphs to treasure. Treasure Tithing. As a single parent, I wondered how in the world I was going to be able to afford to pay my tithing. I payed it. I trusted. Things were and are very tight. But the last 2 years have testified to me, that I can't afford NOT to pay tithing, and it has become more of an honor than an obligation. There have been so many blessings! Laundry detergent that never runs out. A neighbor who knocks on the door with just what I needed. A check book that just doesn't add up, in monetary sense. It has been fun at times, to pay the bills, buy the food, fill the gas tank, then retreat to my bedroom in prayer, and ask my Heavenly Father where He would like me spend the remaining $29 dollars over the next two weeks? My heart has been full as those $29 stretch to provide a meal out with my kids, a meal for someone else, $10 to a child "just because you're great", and as always, Friday Family Pizza Night!! If I had a million dollars, I don't think I would feel any richer than I do today! It has not been easy, that's for sure. But, as my Family has Changed, I have learned to Treasure His Timing, to Treasure Trials, to Treasure Tithing and most of all, to Treasure Today----by changing the way I look at things, the things I look at seem to CHANGE----- and not seem as overwhelming!! Here's your million!! How will you spend it? Treasures!!