Friday, December 19, 2014

Hirchak Weidmer Christmas Letter 2014

Christmas 2014

Dearest Family and Friends----
        I hope this letter finds you all happy and healthy and anxiously engaged in your typical greatness.  As we continue in our quest of making lemonade out of life’s lemons, I have to say, we are becoming masters of the trade, and the drink just gets sweeter and sweeter.  2014 has definitely been a year of growth, in the Hirchak Weidmer home.  And, I’m not just talking about the hundreds of ziplock bags we use, or the truckload of granola bars or fruit snacks.  I am not talking about the tower of cereal we go through each week, nor the mountains of laundry.  I am talking about real growth.  Braden is now taller than I am!  Sean is not far behind.  Garrett will always be a spiritual giant.  And, Karmen can now purchase shoes in the women’s department.  Amber has almost outgrown high school and will graduate this summer.  But, the real growth I want to share, cannot be measured back to back, nor with a yard stick and the door trim.  It is the quiet growth that goes on within each of us.  This year, I will not spotlight a first place pinewood derby race, nor the outstanding GPA of a child.  I will not share the excellence that has occurred in our family, this year.  I think social media does a great job at keeping us informed and making us feel inferior.  So, I decided to approach this year’s Christmas letter a little differently, and share the growth that cannot be seen, and that often occurs after lots of blood, sweat and tears.  But this growth means the most and is worthy of every Facebook feed.
          We have all grown together!  One more year of family dinners, family chores, family events, family games, family prayer, family scripture reading, and yep, every Monday night, Family Home Evening.  We are blessed to have Braden, Sean and Karmen every Monday night.  I know this is not an accident.  He is in the details.  We have seen kids learn to conduct this meeting and stand with confidence.  They have learned, through participation, to speak in front of people, to share tender thoughts, experiences and even testimonies.  We have all been touched as prayers are said, and those missing are mentioned by name.  I can honestly say, and No, this is not the making of a new Mormon Message, but these Monday nights have been the catalyst of amazing growth within each of the kids individually, and for us as a family. 
          We have learned the importance of compromise.  Compromise is more than sharing or picking a have way point to end an argument.  Compromise is truly learning where someone else is coming from, and deciding to do it his way or her way, their way or my way, just because we’re family! Compromise can be just scrapping the whole idea and creating a new celebration, game or tradition.  Compromise is when the past is put aside for the moment, trusting the future is worth the change, and love and the desire to be a family matter more than who’s right or wrong, or any toy, game or event.
          Some of the greatest growth can be the result of weakness.  When we notice an area of the garden that is not thriving, we water it meticulously and take even greater care to nourish that part of the garden to optimize our harvest.  With people, we tend to do exactly the opposite.  Especially in families, we tend to see the weak, and poke, prod and draw attention to failures and magnify mistakes.  We have learned to apply our gardening principles inside our own home, the perfect greenhouse! We have learned what amazing results are seen and felt, when we work together to nourish where we are weak, take extra care when things are down, and weed out the negativity and replace it with just plain kindness. This year we had a garden.  This year we grew a family! 
          Our hearts have grown.  We have learned to love others as our own.  We have learned how each child and each other likes to give love and receive love.  For one, it may be a note of encouragement.  For another, to prepare a favorite dinner or snack.  For some, it may be to do their chores for them on a busy day.  And, for another, to follow up on a homework assignment.  For another, it may be taking time to create a cardboard school project in the final hour and have fun doing it.  And, for another, it may be an outing for some fries and chicken nuggets, even when your budget says, “NO”!  Our hearts have grown as we have learned to love each other BECAUSE of our differences not in spite of them. Our love has grown as we have put each other and family first.  Our love has grown as we have taken time and been willing to invest it in our future realizing the past is important, and the present creates our direction.
          2014 will always be remembered as the year we became grandparents!  On April 12th, we welcomed Addy Grace to the family!  She has brought all of us together with her contagious smile and mighty spirit of love and divinity that is felt by all.   Addy has taught us all that it doesn’t matter how much money you have, what kind of car you drive, or how you look.  Addy shows us daily that it’s all about smiling and how you make others feel, that really makes a difference.

This year, we grew a family, and we thank our Savior, whose birth we celebrate this Christmas season, for making up where we fall short and for bringing us together! He is the gift, of this we are certain!  May 2015 be another year of great growth.  May we all decide to uplift, to strengthen and inspire those around us.  And, in honor of Addy Grace, smile more, is our prayer! 
We love you!
The Hirchak Weidmer Family

Friday, December 12, 2014

Bad Day - Good Day! Praise changes everything!

I was headed to my youngest son's basketball game.  It had been one of those weeks that I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions.  I was a little bit late, burned dinner just a tad, and helped the kids finish some of their homework.  Needless to say, I was a day late and a dollar short, and ready to burst into tears!  As I watched the game, a conversation began between some old friends and I.  We talked about hard times and challenges that seemed to have filled both of our homes and hearts, over the past few years.  We talked about how hard it is being parents, the challenges of marriage, and how we had coped.  We commiserated about our failures and recognized each other's successes.  In between boxing out and three-pointers, we managed to continue our discussion for most of the game.  Just as the score board rang in the end of the game, my friend leaned over to me and said, "Debbie, you know, in spite of so much challenge and change, you have raised some amazing kids!"  My down-trodden spirit looked up and made eye contact and with my head hung down, and I sheepishly responded, "Serious"?  The buzzer rang, kids began to flurry.  I gathered my coat and bag, rounded up my flock of sheep, and began the long walk to the car.  However, my trip out of the gym was much different than my walk into the game.  I felt lighter and brighter and there may have even been a little skip in my step, that night.  We got home and began the bedtime routine.  Then, down came my 17 year old, decked out in her scrubs and ready for work.  Here she was, worn out I am sure, from a full day of school and grueling basketball practice, all dressed and ready for work.  She works as a CNA at a local rehabilitation center and she loves her job.  The clients and staff adore her and so do I.   I looked at her and thought to myself, "what an amazingly dedicated and diligent young lady------ I DO have amazing kids!"  I asked my beautiful daughter if I could take her picture.  I wanted to remember this moment and this feeling!  I took this picture to always remind me that happiness can be found in the darkest of times...... you just need to know where to look.  And, that I am a woman of strength, talent and positivity and no one can ever take that away from me, unless I let them. And, this picture reminds me that maybe, amid the chaos, heartbreak, loss and change, her mother has done her very best turn obstacles into opportunities.......and ultimately succeed. Bad day to a good day, just from a little bit of praise.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A "Lack of" & Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving morning, I am grateful!  Not an uncommon feeling on Thanksgiving morning, but I mean really thankful, way deep inside.  Oprah would have me write those thoughts of gratitude in my journal, so here I am.  As I ponder my list of things I am grateful for, my “Lack of” experiences seemed to top the list.  This morning, I am tired, so in a strange sort of way, I am thankful for the lack of sleep.  My fatigue is the result of waiting up for the last teenager to return home from her evening adventures.  I am tired as I waited up to hear about her activities, her friends, her feelings, the movie they watched, and to watch her prepare for bed.  She is a senior in high school, and I know I only have a few more nights to wait up for her as a “child.”  Not that my heart will ever quit worrying about her safety, happiness and well-being, but as Families Change, so do our roles.  So, today, I am tired from a lack of sleep which means, I am grateful to be a mother. 

This morning, I am warm.  The furnace is billowing and the windows are edged in steam from morning showers and I am comforted physically and emotionally.   I am grateful for heat and hot water.  Just 3 winters ago, I sat in this same room, looked out the same window and pleaded with the heavens, through the thick, dark, cold clouds of winter and trial, begging for warmth and peace.  Our furnace had gone out and so had the hot water heater,  that winter.  As a single mother, each morsel of bread was budgeted and well calculated.  With wounded hearts and empty wallets, I boiled water and moved a space heater from room to room, for a time, pondering how I would care for my children alone.  In this very office, I knelt and pleaded with my higher power to  show me a way, to provide warmth.  Most of all, I pleaded for comfort and peace.  This morning I am warm, and I am grateful for the comforts of our time, like heat and hot water.  I am grateful because of those cold winter nights and the lack of such blessings, for a time, that have filled my heart with gratitude, this Thanksgiving morning.  Every time the furnace turns on, I remember that heating repairman and the bill I never received.   I was cold and today, I am grateful for it.  That miracle of running hot water will never cease to amaze me and the hum of the furnace is a constant reminder that I am never alone.  Today, I am warm.

This morning, the house is quiet, and only a couple of children remain, soon to leave, this holiday morn.   One will work today, and bring happiness and joy to those she cares for, and that fills my emptiness.  The last remaining will soon leave, to join the others, in spending this holiday with their other parent.  This is my new reality.   Quiet holidays, here and there and celebrations shared. This morning, I remember suffering and pains of infertility and longing for more children.  My lack of children forced me to visit doctors, specialists, palm readers, holistic healers ----- anyone who might be able to open up the windows of heaven and pour out the blessing of children.  My lack of children made way for the miracle of adoption and step-parenting.   My lack of children brought empathy for those who also suffer empty arms that accompany infertility and divorce, death and miscarriage.  Families Change, hearts are healed and empty arms are filled with faith in the only one who knows EXACTLY how we feel.  Those who seek Him shall never lack----- In the quiet loneliness I am grateful. 

This morning, I am thankful for the lack of finances and a tight budget.   Finances have forced me to focus on gifts that cannot be purchased like cleaning a bedroom while a child is at school, leaving a note of love and appreciation on a favorite candy bar, an encouraging note in a sack lunch, a word of encouragement on a mirror, or just a smile and a hug at just the right time.  My lack of happiness at times, has forced me to create it.   My lack of an umbrella in the storm, has motivated me to get one, borrow one or make one, or just smile and dance the night away………..and it does go away!  This Thanksgiving morning, I am grateful.  I am grateful for all of the experiences and things I have not had or do not have, for the “Lack of” has taught me and made me who I am today.  Gratitude turns what we have into just enough.  Being grateful is the best way to start out every day!  The “Lack of” and Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 6, 2014


I absolutely love pearls!!  I have never been a big jewelry fan.  As a matter of fact, my idea of "bling" is my one and only pearl necklace, tried and true.  It adds a touch of elegance to any outfit, that I do not have on my own.  It turns casual to classy ---- those simple pearls!  I even chose a pearl for my wedding ring!  My first wedding ring was of rubies and a diamond.   On a cold night, when mouths were hungry and bills needed to be paid, I sold my rubies and diamond to make ends meet.  Commitment and covenants gone and broken, that ring still provided for the kids ---------- a lesson I shall never forget.  No matter what, I had to make it happen for the kids.  So, when it came time to choose another wedding ring, I knew exactly what I wanted ---- a pearl!
I wanted something different.  I wanted something that would represent our families coming together, our histories, and our future.  Something that would represent "us" ---- Pearls!

Pearls result from injury!  The grain of sand begins to hurt and irritate the oysters delicate tissue.  So, as it tries to protect itself and coat the sand to lessen the injury, a pearl results!  I couldn't think of anything more perfect.  Mr. B and I had both been injured beyond what we would have ever imagined.  That pearl on my finger would be a constant reminder to us both, to always be sensitive because of where we had been.  To be aware of tender feelings and emotions that surface from day to day.  And, as we protect each other and our relationship, a priceless pearl will result---- a relationship that will not be sold for selfishness, but created through sensitivity and injury.  My priceless pearl!

No two pearls are alike!!  No two marriages are alike!  No two families are alike!  No two blended families are alike!  And, I knew, going into a second marriage, there would be things that were different from the first!  I knew that our family might look different than the social norm.  I knew that our relationship would be different than any other!  So, a pearl seemed the perfect stone!  Every time I look at my hand, and see my ring, I am reminded to dare to be dynamically different!!
 We teach our kids to focus on the positive.  To focus on similar tastes and talents and have fun with the differences.  They have learned to smile when they say, "we have 10 children in our family!"  They have found the humor in how one brother likes hot dogs without the bun, and another brother only likes the hot dog!  Each time I look at my hand, I remember not to compare, but embrace.  I remember to hold my head high, because of our differences.  That divorce did not define me but had refined me and prepared me for something priceless and beautiful!  My pearl!

Pearls are not found just lying on the seashore ----  you've got to know what you're looking for and be prepared to dig, dive and search for them!  My pearl wedding ring reminds me everyday that good relationships don't just happen.  I have realized, through analyzing past failures, that relationships take time and a lot of hard work.  You need to know what you are looking for and be prepared to work for it.  You might have to dig through the sands of sea to find the one worth working for.  My pearl reminds me that there are times when I will need to dig for answers, peace and patience.  My pearl reminds me to always be aware of feelings and emotions.
 There are times when they can take a dive, and I need to be aware of those plunges, in myself, our children, and in each other, and be willing to put aside my own needs and desires to elevate!  My pearl reminds me to search!  To search the scriptures daily!!! I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that whether I find answers or not, in reading my scriptures daily, I ALWAYS find the peace and power!  I can't afford to miss ---- to miss the lessons I learn from them.  The guidance and direction I receive from them.  The comfort and peace I feel when I read.  And, I cannot go a day without the power I feel.  Scriptures = Superpowers!!  If you want to save the day, rescue or protect, read the Book of Mormon daily!  It is full of gemstones ---- life's lessons that cannot be taught or learned in any other way! I testify that daily scripture reading, for myself and for my family, has been the glue that held my children and my heart together when all seemed broken.  And, it has bonded our blended family like no other!  My ring reminds me to read!  My pearl!!

I have enjoyed speaking to many of you at various events in the community.  You have filled me as I have been given opportunities to share in your Relief Society and Young Men/Young Women meetings, lessons, firesides and events.  I have loved speaking in Women's Conferences.  Each event has connected me with many of you that have filled me when I was empty.  These opportunities have seen me through the darkest period of my life, and allowed me to see the light that was, is and has always been there.  For that, I thank YOU!!

This week marked 4 years since I woke up and found myself a single mother, after 20 years of marriage.  My life would never be the same.  I would be changed forever.  How would I survive?  How would I provide?  And, how would my world of "normal" and "change" collide?  The answers to these questions did not come overnight.  They were not answered in a week or even a month.  However, as I have pondered over the past 4 years, I have realized these questions were in fact answered, time and time again, through the threads of experience.  As strange as it may seem, though, four years later I still mourn!  Not that I am negative and down everyday, but I definitely have my moments when I actually mourn.  I believe that mourning is the result of any and all family change.  And, mourning is ok! We mourn for what might have been.  What could have been.  We mourn for what is missed, and we mourn because of who we miss.  I mourn as I miss me.  I miss staying home with the kids and focusing on frosting the sugar cookies just the right shade of orange for their Halloween treat.  I miss sitting down together, with a highlighter and their book order from school, circling their wish list and learning about "why this book or that one?"  I miss going to the park without the worry or constant nagging of homework and housework and finances.  I miss waking up knowing I have done my best to give my kids the best start in life, but instead, I mourn as I realize they have become a statistic of children at risk.  I hope I have empowered them with enough positivity to make lemonade out of life's lemons, to dig deep and search for their pearls in life.  I mourn simplicity.  I mourn living each day without the memory that I failed at something huge............and worry that I might fail again.  Those moments I mourn, my eyes meet my pearl, and it's beauty is deep, deep within us all, waiting to be found, searched for and discovered!  I find peace and am comforted in my differences. My pearl reminds me daily that extraordinary can come from ordinary!  My pearl touches my heart and reminds me to be sensitive to injury, past, present and future.  My pearl reminds me that relationships are fragile.  Marriage takes hard work, and sometimes we have to dig deep.  But, the reward is unsurpassed!  Family is fragile!  Handle it with prayer! Pearls!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Half --- 5 lessons learned about healing not hurting!

When I finally came to the harsh realization that divorce was not fair, I began to feel alive and more comfortable with my new reality.  I also noticed the shackles of hate, anger and bitterness begin to release me.  With this "release" of bondage to negativity, I became better over bitter, happier than I was sad.  I began to regain power over my days, my weeks, my feelings, my emotions and my heart.  I also became a better mother, as I realized that nothing about divorce was fair, but it was my story and my kids' story.  And, most importantly, yet by no doing of my own, I became the author and co-author of both.  
Every divorce is different and unique.  No divorce has the same chapter titles, epilogue or prologue.  However, a large majority of the readers of and those I meet as I travel around a speak, often ask me what I have learned from this journey of abandonment, divorce and blending.  So, here are a few of my most valuable lessons learned.  Know that many of them, I had to learn the hard way, through trial and error.  I made mistakes along the way, but felt impressed to share, as I did not have any resources to turn to.  Hence, I began this blog, that my story, might become such a resource for others, trying to pick up the pieces.   Alas, I will humbly share some of my mistakes, my failures and triumphs, my innermost thoughts, in the hopes that it might help someone, somewhere, who has no where to turn and no one to ask.  Here are my 5 tips and myths to riding the waves of divorce:

1.  He probably won't remember 1/2 of the things that you will never forget!  As women, we may be more emotional and more sentimental than the men in our lives, but one thing is certain, when they move on, they move on fast, often times, leaving you in the dust, to pick up the pieces of broken lives and a hearts, that have been run over by divorce. I remember the day he left.  I drove home from the kid's school in silence.  As I entered the house, there was an emptiness that was indescribable.  I quietly walked around the house looking at what he took and did not take.  The house was full of memories that pulsated through my soul.  "How could he just walk away,"  I thought.  As I composed myself, I was impressed with the fact that if I was going to make it through this, I needed to learn how to take the emotion out!!  I could not go through the rigors of divorce, the legalities, custody, the children, and constantly be wondering, "How could he just walk away?"  The fact of the matter was, and it took me MONTHS to come to this realization -----He DID walk away, so now what?  Consciously and prayerfully taking the emotion out, helped me immensely through many facets of divorce.  And, it's probably true, "He probably won't remember 1/2 of the things that I shall never forget."

2. The glass is 1/2 full or 1/2 empty.....the amount does not change!  It's all about perspective and the future.  One day, a few months after my husband left, he came to visit the kids.  After a visit, he wanted to go on a ride and discuss some things with me.  He looked at me and said, "I'm not coming back and you are not doing anything to prepare!"  I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.  It took me a minute to catch my breath, I got out of the car, and went back into the house to face the kids.  I remember my lip quivering with fear, hurt, hate and anger for the next few days.  Just on the verge of tears, and not wanting to face the day.  Finally, I knelt and began to pour out my soul to my high power, seeking guidance, comfort, inspiration.......something......anything!  Then, I went to the computer, and began to just search..........Finally, I decided to call around to attorneys and get back into school........and I have not sat down since!!!  Even though I wanted to punch my then, husband in the face, I realized he was right, I was wallowing, and needed to see the glass or my reality for what it was.  I had 4 beautiful children, that were counting on me, and suddenly, I saw the glass......1/2 full of potential.....and it was all up to me.
My kids would be what I became.  If I were bitter, so were they.  If I was angry, so were they.  If I had a hard day, so did they.  So, I took that glass of divorce that had been handed me, I began to drink and refill with legal counsel, education, fun inexpensive family outings with the kids, and my heart changed.  My empty became full.  My anger became compassion for my children.  And, I used my bitterness to catapult me to BETTER.......all with a glass 1/2 full of faith in the future.

3.  Meet 1/2 Way!!  ----  Be ready to give, support, take time and drop everything, to help your children transition through divorce.  Don't ever use the kids as a means of "getting even", "revenge" or just plain hurting your ex-spouse.  Even though, in the moment, it might feel empowering, the end result is not the optimal for the children.  Holidays and birthdays can be celebrated a day early or a day late.  It's the event, not the calendar date.  You can show you love your children more by being flexible, and working with their other parent, than the greatest Christmas gift or birthday party can ever testify.  Some of my favorite Thanksgivings and Christmases ever, have been the ones I spent with my daughter's in-laws, as my children were with their dad.  I loved getting to know them and spending time with them.  Then, a few days later or earlier, we had the turkey and all the fixings----in a home full of love not hate.  Remember, even though divorce may not have been your choice or your fault, it is your reality!  And, it is unfortunately, the reality of your children.  Suddenly, they have become a statistic.  They are at risk, like it or not.  So, jump in and do all you can to compromise this confusion, that they did not choose for themselves. Meet 1/2 way!

4.  Because your ex-spouse has 1/2 their heart, he/she deserves that respect--- With holding visits, saying unkind things about their other parent, or just plain being negative about divorce, puts them in the middle of a war that they are not armed or prepared to fight.  For years, I have packed a suitcase for my son to visit his dad.  At times when emotions are running high, I have threatened not to send it.  Using the suitcase as a means of revenge.  The reality is, I feel like he should have the things he needs for his kids.  He does not.  Consequently, I have used that a means of hurting, threatening, and getting even.  Perhaps, I have a secret agenda, at times, to make him feel helpless like he made me feel when he left.  For whatever reason, the "suitcase" has been the ammunition, when things are hard.  One day, my son said, "Where's my suitcase?"  It took his little innocent voice to remind me that this crazy suitcase was for my son, not my ex-husband.  Though it seems to make things easier for his dad, which doesn't always seem fair, the suitcase was for my son.  I packed it and vowed to never use that silly suitcase again, as a means of getting even.  Put down your weapons and fill your arms with your children's future and the hopes of a brighter tomorrow.  It's ok to be hurt, angry and just downright furious, but handle it one on one with your ex-spouse.  Use email, texting, or write your feelings in a letter.  I have written letters that I have never mailed, just to purge myself of negativity and hatred.  I have sent emails and texts that I have regretted.  And, to find peace,  I have gone onto to apologize and aspire to do better the next time.  Do not put the children in the middle, as messengers or check picker-uppers.  And, be their voice, compassionately, if necessary.

5. Don't expect 1/2, just expect to make up the difference.  Math is my weakest subject, but one thing I know for sure, divorce is anything but fair.  And, the sum of divorce is not the result of two equal parts.  It is mathematically impossible to take one household and create two that are exactly alike.  It is just as impossible to severe the hearts of children and extended family into two identical pieces.  You cannot divide income, property, holidays, or love, exactly in half.  It took me a long time to realize this.  I spent months and months, trying to make things fair.  Financially and emotionally, the burden was almost too much to bear.  But, the time I wasted worrying about what was not fair, is gone and I can never get it back.  I remember, a few days before going into our final mediation.  I was petrified.  I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I had 4 children relying on the outcome of that meeting, and their future was in my hands.  So, I called a friend who had been divorced.  I asked her questions and she lovingly shared her experiences.  The best council she gave me was that divorce was not fair!  So, I learned to get by on pennies compared to what we had had married.  I sold things to provide for extracurricular activities.  I painted shirts rather than buy them for school projects.  We memorized the "Value Menus" for special nights out.  When our water heater and furnace went out that first winter, I boiled water for dishes and for baths.
When my daughter got married, in the midst of what appeared to be nothing by chaos, angels administered to us in the form of family, friends and strangers. Don't expect 1/2, just expect to make up the difference.  And, I know, that when I have put my family first, miracles happen and that support cannot be measured in dollars.  We can't put in 1/2 the effort unless we are ok with 1/2 the results.  Make up the difference!!  They are worth it!

When you cut an apple in half, you have two heart-shaped pieces with a star of seeds in the middle.  Divorce can be exactly that, if we catch the vision.  If we remember to take the emotion out and focus on healing rather than hurting.  We must see the glass 1/2 full of the future rather than the furious. Be willing to meet 1/2 way and compromise the confusion of divorce and family change.  Remember, then there are children involved, he or she has 1/2 their heart.  As we cut the apple in half, we reveal the heart shaped halves with the star of seeds inside.
 Though my children were raised in a single parent home for 3 years, and now, in a blended family, those seeds are reminders of the possible growth that can come as the result of change and even divorce.  They just need some extra tender loving care.  And, the star shape is no surprise.  No matter what typed of home you have, there truly is something holy taking place inside, as we do our best, in spite of family change and divorce, and raise His children, with His help.  I know that we truly can feel peace amidst the chaos of change, when we seek divine guidance and direction.  And, we have the hopes, that with Him, all things shall be made whole. Divorce is not fair.  Broken things heal. Half is enough, when we realize we are not alone, as we write our stories!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Courage Counts

Many people have asked me about what it's like to remarry.  Since today is our first anniversary, I will try to share what I have learned.  I have tried to paint a pretty real picture, through this blog, about Family Change,  but this summer, I had an experience that illustrates the answer to the question perfectly. In June, we had a family camping trip at Lake Tahoe.  We were able to take time out of our busy schedules, slow down, enjoy the outdoors and practice our camping skills.  One evening, after dinner, my husband and I decided to go on a bike ride.  We jumped on our bikes, just the two of us, and off we went.  The weather was crisp and cool.  The evening breeze felt amazing in our hair.  We stayed on the narrow trail, one behind the other, and road into the sunset.  I was the leader on the first stretch.  We reached the end of the trail, and headed back.  This time, the husband took the lead.
 And, he headed towards a different direction.  I asked him if we were going back to camp.  He responded, "Yep, follow me!"  I took no thought to do anything different, so I pedaled right behind him.  (At this point of the story, it is probably important to point out that he rides a lot, loves to ride, has competitively ridden and was on his own bike!!----- I was on a 30 year old, refurbished 10-speed from the 1980's, that did not belong to me, and I rarely ride).  Not long after he took the lead, I notice the trail headed down a hill and took a pretty sharp turn.  As we got closer and closer to the turn, I noticed a small bridge, made out of a couple of 2x4s, did I say, 2x4s???  Do the math----that makes the bridge, at most 4" - 8" wide.  I cried out to him in fear and begged to turn around.  He responded encouragingly and said, "You can do it!"  I pedaled with courage and faith, my arms shook as I pedaled over the narrow, homemade bridge, and quickly leaped off my bike, before crashing around the tight turn!!  My first thought was to yell, "Are you crazy??"  My second thought was to start walking my bike.  My prince charming rode back, made sure I was ok, and said those ever comforting words again, "Follow me!"  Wow, at this point I wanted to yell, "I'm trying Lance Armstrong," but I kept my comments to myself, mounted the 10-speed artifact and resumed pedaling!  Soon, we came to another hill, this one was straight up and covered with large rocks.  I began to panic, but whispered as I pedaled, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can........."  I kept my eyes on my husband, and kept pedaling!
If I looked down at the jagged rocks beneath me, or looked up at the hill I still needed to climb, I knew I would surely give up.  I did fall one more time, into the rock garden beneath me.  And those words again, "Come on-----follow me!"  I mounted the antique, one last time, and was bound and determined to stay on until we returned to camp.  I kept my eyes on him, and soon found that we reached the top of the steep hill.  There I found a view of Lake Tahoe like no other.  It was breathtaking!  Now, we were headed downhill and with great speed.  (Great speed for me, anyway, need I say more!) We laughed about my tumbles, we talked, the trail widened and we rode next to each other for a moment.  Soon, we were near the lake, on familiar ground, and I again, took the lead.  Now, the race was on, my competitive jeans kicked in, and I pedaled back to camp with confidence.  
As I have reflected on that evening ride, I have realized that it answers the question perfectly, "What is it like to remarry?" ---------  You take turns taking the lead.  Chances are, both have been taking the lead as single parents or just plain being single.  Sometimes, it is hard to give up the lead role.  However, when you remarry, you need to become just as good at following, as you are at being a leader.  I have found that we each bring very different yet vital skills, talents and interests into our marriage and family.  So, when we are hiking, biking, working long shifts or in the mountains, he often takes the lead.  These are not only his passions, but he is skilled in these areas and I recognize that.  So, it makes sense that he lead.  However, familiar ground for me is planning, scheduling and following through with day to day commitments.  He realizes that here I am strong.  And, he not only lets me take the lead, but asks me to.  When he asks, I lead out in these areas with new-found confidence as I realize he knows this is my talent.  When you remarry, sometimes it is hard to learn and decide who leads when.  And, here is where you trust at times, and at others, you step in ----- "Follow me!"  In remarriage, there will be some rocky terrain, some narrow bridges, and you may even crash and burn.  And, at times you may want to give up.  It is during these times that you look up, to your higher power for strength.  It is here that courage counts!  Blending interests, habits, likes and dislikes and children and extended family is not always easy.  However, it is worth it!!!  It is worth it when you realize that as a team you are stronger than you were as an individual.  It is worth it when you realize those lonely nights are in your past.  It is worth it when you have someone to share you day with.  It is worth it when you realize that parenting was divinely designed for two, and you are grateful to be a team during such a crucial part in your life and theirs. It is worth it when you are poor, but you are poor together, yet richer than you ever thought you could ever be.  And, it is worth when your kids say they love him and can't imagine life without him.
 What is it like to remarry?  It's mostly the same as any marriage.  It is like the craziest, funnest, most difficult, scary-at-times bike race of your life!!! Sometimes you fall.  Sometimes you want to give up.  You keep pedaling.  And, most of the time, the view is more beautiful than it has ever been before.  Even breathtaking!! And all the time, you need faith in each other.  Really, remarrying is no different than many of life's experiences.  Have faith in Him who truly leads.   Keep your eyes on Him and don't look down at the rocky terrain or the mountain you have to climb.  Just keep pedaling.  Get back on your bike when you fall. Enjoy the journey.  It may not be easy, but it's worth it.  Courage Counts!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Prodigal

I have debated whether or not to write this post. As was created by a single mom struggling with her new reality, it seems appropriate to share all the changes that have come my way.  I have hesitantly allowed you into my broken heart and divorce.  I have shared the emptiness and joy as a daughter leaves the home to marry.  I have shared my inspired romance and marriage to one of my very best friends growing up, becoming a step-mother and a grandmother.  From this list, I have realized that Families Change with the days, and some changes are delightful, some growing, some heartbreaking and some just downright hard and unfair.  So now, I share an experience that seems to encompass all of the above and more.  And, I share it, perhaps with the hopes that someone else has felt like I do and will be brave enough to share with me.  

No matter how hard we try, our kids don't always make the choices we would make, choose the career that we think they were made for.  We could raise them in a musical home and they could crave the quiet.  We surround them with certain core values, our core values, and they may choose to create their own.  We may try to fill them with motivation and aspirations and they may be content with "now" and unsure of the "later"----and be just fine with it.  We may have pictured them a certain way, all their life-----and they may have a completely different album of their future.   All of which are fine and good, but some are difficult to swallow ---- like a large pill for the best outcome, yet it hurts the whole way down.  So, as my son has left and moved out into college housing, I have been flooded with a myriad of emotions, thoughts, memories and even regrets.  Did I raise him the best I knew how?  Did I give him my all when he needed it?  Did I try to relate and enjoy, understand and feel from his perspective?  Did I analyze his actions according to how he would live or how I would have him live?  Did I?  Could I?  Should I? And, will I? are the questions.  With this heavy on my mind, I found myself pondering the story of the prodigal son.  Of course, their are similarities.......... his "inheritance" would be a bed-in-a-bag, and a 5 x 7 of the family.  And, the new distance he created between us, less than a mile away.  However, Families Change, and it's easy to focus on the "Never Agains", rather than the "Won't It Be Fun When?"........Families Change and will continue to change, not only with the times, but because of time.  And, as they change, so do we, as parents----- learning and growing, laughing and crying, packing and unpacking....we change. 

Back to the prodigal son.  The son, takes his inheritance and  leaves, and is about "riotous living" for a time.  His money is spent, he realizes that his choices did not lead to the happiness he was seeking.  Then, in moments of reflection or perhaps desperation, he remembers whose his is, and yearns to be reunited with his father.  Then, we have the oldest son, who had been obedient to his father's will, and watches this reunion.  The prodigal son returns to open arms, not the lecture, grounding or typical response the eldest son would have thought.  It is evident that the prodigal son has never been far from his father's thoughts, as their eyes meet, they run to one another and embrace with a kiss.  Then, the father has his servants bring the prodigal a robe, some shoes and ring, and instructs them to prepare a fine to prepare a fine feast.
 I believe this parable teaches us a little bit about ourselves and a lot about our relationships.  We have all been the "father", lovingly responsible for someone else, celebrating a return, an accomplishment, or even a change of heart.  We have all been the "eldest" son, unable to celebrate the good fortune of another, when we feel like we have worked for it and deserve it even more.  And, we have all been the "prodigal"------ leaving what we know and love, to test our wings and see if we can really fly........our own way!  And, we have all been "prodigal" as realization becomes our reality, and we long to return to the Father.......from whence we KNOW we came and even belong, regardless of our weakness.

And, not mentioned in the parable, but in my mind, there must have been a mother.  A loving mother, who spent her days creating a home full of the spirit.  She must have created some meals her boys loved that no one else could make just like her, that would permeate the home each night.   Perhaps she played music that her son's did not think they enjoyed but, made it feel like home.  There must have been a mother who felt guilty as her son left the home, which guilt led to self-doubt and feelings of failure and inadequacies.  There must have been a mom who cried with the father as their son departed, and who rejoiced with him upon his return.  A mother who remembered birthdays and created traditions of all kinds, that the son remembered, perhaps missed and maybe even quietly longed for during his journey away. 

The Prodigal is so much more than a son's return after "riotous" living.  The Prodigal is more than a loving father welcoming him home with the best of the best.  The Prodigal is more than an obedient yet jealous brother.  The Prodigal is all about how selfish, immature behavior can become a canvas of learning and possibly to becoming broken and humble.  It is about living our mistakes, which we all do, then allowing humility and our own realization of whose we truly are, becoming a catalyst in our lives, producing change.  The Prodigal does not mean that we all need to live and experience every thing for ourselves, in order to know right from wrong.  But, what it does mean is that if we do, if pleasure-seeking becomes more powerful than covenant-keeping, there is a way back, rejoicing to be had and open arms awaiting our return.  The Prodigal is about each of us and our imperfections, and allowing those imperfections to motivate us even catapult us home.  The Prodigal!

Monday, June 2, 2014

7.3 miles

Saturday, I set out to run from the top of the Provo temple, down to my house--- a little over 7 miles.   As we drove to the top of the temple, my designated starting place, my daughter noticed I was shutting down my phone and putting it in the glove box.  She told me over and over again to keep my phone with me, just in the event of an emergency.  With each plea, I gave the same response, "I'll be fine. It's no big deal! I won't need to call anyone."  Prior to leaving, my husband worried about the distance.  Again, I confidently gave a similar response, "No big deal.  I'll be fine!"  He cautioned me about the hot weather and specifically advised me to take plenty of water and stay hydrated. I like a long run now and then, and 7 miles seemed perfect.   Though it had been some time since I had ran any long distance, the weather was warm, time was on my side, the decision was made, the race was on!  Consistent with my responses, I drank a few sips of water, left my bottle in the car, put my cell phone in the glove box, and jumped out, and admired mountain upon which I stood.  Phone-less and water-less, I began to run.  The only competitor was myself.  The weather was beautiful.  It was a perfect day.

After pounding the hot pavement for the first hour or so, "warm" quickly escaladed to hot! Suddenly, I realized I was no longer 20 years old, and I was ready to call the "poop-out-pick-up", however, I had tossed my phone in the glove box of the car, confident my determination would see me through.  I came to a steep hill, and really felt like giving up.  "If only I had listened to my daughter, and not felt like I could do it all on my own?"  As I continued, hot, tired, and ready to give up, thirst began to set in.  The more I ran, the thirstier I became. Then, at about 5 miles, I noticed a ditch or canal, full of water, right next to me.  Rushing, cold water was within reach, it would taste and feel so good, yet I knew, it was not clean.  For about the next mile, I ran parallel to that running water.  I could hear it, see it and almost taste it.  I imagined my thirst being quenched by the rushing water, and it felt so good.  I could not believe how thirsty I became with each stride.  I began to slow and approached the ditch.  I walked along the side, staring at the water.  I wanted it so badly.  I was SO hot and SO thirsty, yet I knew it was not clean and if I drank it, the outcome could be disastrous!!
 I stood.  I pondered.  I yearned for a drink.  Then, I walked away and began running again.  I felt empowered, and thoughts and inspiration began to flood my mind and heart!

The water could be too much idle time, late nights, dark places (figuratively and emotionally), a bad habit, temptation, or anything else that is enticing yet possibly disastrous. Then, I thought about the fact that I had water in the car.  I was advised to bring it with me, yet I did not listen.  How often do we intentionally surround ourselves with those things, we know, target our "thirsts" and weaknesses, all the while knowing we have access to living water and knowledge to quench any thirst the world might throw our way, yet, we do not prepare and partake?  The heat could be the intensity of life!  Sometimes it provides an absolutely beautiful day, yet other times, life can be so hot that we want to quit, give up and get out!  Finally, the sun---- or the Son.  He is there illuminating, enlightening and brightening our every day in every way, yet sometimes, we lose sight of His divine potential in our lives and we focus on the heat--- the hard times and challenges that life provides.  I realized that today's challenges can and are tomorrow's strengths, with the comfort of the Son.  With those realizations, I ran!!  By mile 6, those inspirations began to fade, as often they do in life, and my thoughts of weakness and giving up became first and foremost in my mind.  So, with the intensity of the Son, I prayed...... out loud..... as I ran!  "Please, let a neighbor or friend drive by this familiar road, and rescue me!!"  I ran, watched and nothing.  I prayed again, this time a little louder.  "Please, let even a stranger drive by, see the pain and desperation in my face, and stop and rescue me!"  I ran, watched and nothing.  Quickly approaching mile 7, tears welled up in my eyes, as thirst, pain, heat and frustration overcame me.  Finally, I pleaded, "Please send my husband or one of my kids----whisper to them that I am struggling, and send them to my rescue..........even though I did not listen.....did not bring my phone or water.......send them!"  As I looked in the distance, I could see the familiar lights of our silver Hyundai headed right for me.  I began to run faster and faster, so that they would not know the extent of my desperation.  It slowed as it approached, then drove right by.  I prayed again.  And, again, another silver car approached.  Again, my speed and determination increased.  And, again, the silver car of strangers drove by.  I continued to pray and continued to see more silver cars than I had ever seen before.
 Silver car after silver car, motivation after motivation, yet, not apparent rescue.  Then, I turned down the top of our street.  I slowed to a walk to allow my muscles to cool.  As I walked I pondered again........... "Why had He not answered my prayers?"  I walked away from the dirty water and pleaded and prayed to be rescued.  Silver car after silver car, but no answer.  Then it hit me.  I had made it home!  I had finished the race!  I did not give up!  I did not quit!  And, He did hear and answer my prayers............ with each silver car He heard.  And, with each silver car He answered!  These answers motivated, encouraged and inspired when I was about to give up.  He could have sent a ride......then I would have always wondered if I could have finished the run.  And, I would not have learned about the "water", the "heat" or the "Son".

As I ran, I learned, He lives!  He hears!  He answers!  He teaches!  He comforts!  Silver car after silver car, He sends, if we will but open our eyes, and see Him in the details of our lives.  Each tender mercy, each and every day, to keep up from the dirty water, to push us and inspire us to Get Up!  Get Dressed! Show up! And, Never Give Up!  7.3 miles.  Silver car after silver car.  He lives!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Happy Mother's Day!!! by Slidely Slideshow

I made this video to pay tribute to all the great Moms, mother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, Aunts, friends and neighbors who have influenced my life and made me a better person.  And, I wanted to make something my kids could look back on to remember how the worst of times can become the best of times,
as far as growth goes.  We managed to find rainbows, and lots of them, amid the storms.  My kids were those rainbows, many times!  I also want those who are moms, who hoped to be mothers, who are still wishing to be mothers, and even those who have not had children yet have been mothers to many, to know what a valuable roll you play, being part of the myriad of villages out there, raising children today, making the world a better place, one child at a time.

To all the birth moms and step moms------ you totally get it!!  It's about willing doing your best, regardless of personal feelings and emotions, to put children first!
Being a mom is about sacrifice, and Katrina taught that best!!

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Change is OK

A while ago, I was talking with a friend.  During the conversation, she told me that over the past few years of trial and challenge, I had changed.  I have pondered this statement for a couple of months.  For a while, it bothered me.  I thought to myself, "I'm still Debbie-------even though my husband left, I'm still Debbie.  Even though my social life is almost non-existent, because of the demands of college and family, I'm still Debbie.  And, even though I have remarried and have a new husband and 6 new children to discover and love, I'm still Debbie!"  And, I stood by my answer!! "I have not changed!"  Until, I happened to stop by the local smoothie store, for a quick treat.  Just walking in the door, you are met with an overpowering aroma of sweet fruit and freshness.  I stood there with my daughter and pondered over the menu of slushy delights.  So many combinations and creative names, I felt healthy just reading about them.  Finally, we made our selections, and the magic began.  Fruit and veggies were gathered.  Yogurt and sherbet measured.  Juice and vitamins to top off each blender full of color and texture.  One flip of the switch and you await your treat with great anticipation.  We were talking as we waited and I just happen to glance over as the attendant opened the blender and filled the cups.  What filled our cups was nothing like what was in the blender.
 Everything came out smooth and completely blended.  Even the color had changed. That smoothie contained the answer to the question I had been pondering.  Had I changed?  Of course I had!!  How could I have survived what I survived, endured what I endured, experienced what I had experienced-------and come out unchanged?   I realized that day, that as Families Change, so do we.  And, that change is OK!  Change brings newness and freshness.  Change is healthy.  Change is inevitable!  And, change is part of our journey!  Today, I may no longer be PTA Parent Extraordinaire, but my circumstances pushed me to find a job.  And, because of my volunteer experience, the school hired me, and I have gone on to love and serve the children, as I had, though in a different capacity.   I just get compensated financially and emotionally.  And, I am expected to be there at a certain time each day.  So, that has changed.  And, that's OK.  Today, I am no longer able to just go shopping whenever, hit the yard sales, and hang out at the pool.  Life's experiences have forced me back to college, which takes a lot of time and energy.  And, I have found my financial resources are dedicated mostly to just the needs of our newly blended family.  So, I now shop out of necessity rather than enjoyment.  When I have a free minute or two, I can be found playing UNO or dancing in the kitchen with kids while making dinner, or in a quiet corner writing a research paper. Something I used to love, is no longer part of my everyday life.  My time and resources are now budgeted to the minute and penny.  My interests and habits have changed.  I have changed!!! And, that's OK!!! I went from double dating on the weekends with friends, to just finding solace and refuge at my home with my kids.  To now, blending our families, which requires time and energy.  I find myself just enjoying the newness and freshness of our family, and realizing that there is nowhere I would rather be, than home with them.  Sometimes, I have to pinch myself, as a reminder that this is really my life!!  Families Change.  And, have I changed?  The answer is a resounding YES!!!  I will never drink another smoothie or smell a freshly cut orange, without reminding myself that, yes, I have changed, and that's OK!  Life is definitely On The Job Training!!!  Through the ups and the downs, trial and error, the good and the bad and the happy and sad------ we learn to accommodate, appreciate and compensate for such change.  We accommodate by making changes, finding jobs, going to school, being willing to move, and do whatever it takes to hold our families and ourselves together, when the storms of life rage and create change.  We suddenly appreciate what we had and still have, when life robs us of our "normal."  And, we learn what it means to compensate.  Times of challenge and change, force us to compensate where others fall short and where life has short-changed us and our families.  And, most of all, we learn to rely on He who truly compensates us, He who makes up the difference where we fall short.  He who compensates us in blessings, a thousand fold, for our efforts to make the best we possibly can out of life's lemons of tragedy, trial and change.
Have I changed.  YES!!!  Will I continue to change?  YES!!  Am I the same person I was 5 years ago.  No!  I am not bitter, most of the time.  I am striving to be better!!  And, in a strange sort of way, I am grateful for life's lemons.  I would not be who I am today without them.  Change is hard!  Change brings tears!  Change happens! Change brings freshness and newness.  And, change is OK!

By Their Fruits....

A few weeks ago, I was having a really hard time!!  I felt like I was spread so thin between so many obligations, that I was not able to accomplish any of them like I would like to.  The house was sort of clean, the laundry was sort of done, and the kids were sort of happy.  I ended up with an evening with no one home.  (Which, in house with 6-10 kids, does not happen very often).  There I stood, in my sort of picked up home, with homework that was sort of done, and thought, "Forget it!!  Why bother?" If you can relate, stand up and yell, "Amen sister!!"  For weeks, it seemed, all I could see were my weaknesses........the things I did not get done, the appointments I had missed and the many things I had not yet accomplished.  The adversary truly is a magnifying glass of negativity!!  The more weaknesses I saw, the bigger they seemed, and failure and emotional breakdown was right around the corner.  As I stood there in my empty house, I decided to just walk out the door and take ride and visit my married daughter.  I just popped in and we had so much fun.
She is having a baby soon, so she showed me the crib and all it's fixings!
 They live in a one bedroom apartment, so this process did not take long.  She showed me how she had creatively organized her ever-so-small closet to accommodate she and her husband and the new arrival.
 She then, lifted up the crib skirt and showed me the diaper and wipe storage area, in bins the exact size to fit.  A small, old book shelf had been converted into the baby's dresser with fabric boxes of booties, bows and binkys replacing the shelves of books from her childhood room.  I looked around her home and found that every room had received the same tender loving care, and each item had it's place.  And, on the walls were pictures from her wedding framed in old frames that were painted from the second-hand store, remodeled within a newlywed budget, to adorn their first palace together.  Suddenly, I felt a warmth run through me like no other, and the words, "by their fruits, ye shall know them.." filled my heart!   Someone had taught this young mother-to-be, the many ways to make a house a home.  Someone had taught this beautiful new wife how to be frugal yet fun.  Someone had taught her some organization skills, and some cleaning skills to boot.  Perhaps, I had been part of such a miracle?  Maybe all those things I had "sort of done", really had made a difference?  And, when I felt the spirit of love in her home, it just quietly whispered to my heart, "all your sort-ofs, were just enough!"

That night, as I drove home to my empty house, my heart was full!  I decided that then and there, that I had given far too much power to the adversary and allowed my mind and heart to be full of so much negativity that I could barely make it through each day.  When we are weak and our energy is at an all time low, it is not a Diet Coke that we need.  We need to realize the real Rockstar that lives within each of us.  Mothers are crucial in maintaining the spirit of the home.  Because of that, we wear a target on our backs, each and every day, inviting the adversary's firey darts of depression, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, feelings of failure, and doom and gloom.  Each is a formula for disaster, and so the adversary wins!!  I realized that I need to be better, smarter and stronger.  I have started a new pattern for beginning and ending each day.  As I lay in my bed, and just prior to getting up, I think of 3 great things I have done, or been a part of.  Just three great things is enough to fill my tank with ample positivity to get through the day, and even spread a little on my way.  Sure, are all of my kids perfect?  They are all just as imperfect as I.  Have all of my kids gone on to make the decisions I would hope?  Nope--- just as I am learning, so are they.  But, there is something within each and everyone of them that is good, that is of me, and, that is of Him........and that is enough.  So, when I am down, and wondering if I have done any good, I try to remember, "by their fruits ye shall know them," then I look no further, for in each of their goodness, is a little bit of ME!!!  And, within each of their goodness........... is a part of YOU!!!
 And, suddenly, rather than the failures flourishing in your mind and heart, it is their smiles, their accomplishments large and small, it is their goodness and divinity that grows and fills our tanks of positivity to make it one more day....... and even smile along the way.  "By their fruits......."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Quiet Moments

 The other night, my police officer husband came home from work.  He shared with me some recent training they had received as police officers.  They talked about the importance of having time, after work, to relax and be "off duty."  They talked about the increase in depression, suicides and other challenges among officers.  Those doing the training, encouraged the officers to take time after work, to do nothing.  To enjoy being "off duty."  To not only let their bodies rest, but their minds enjoy a slower pace of relaxation, that comes, when the badge is taken off, even if just for a moment.  With a big family, games, programs, events and obligations, our "off duty" can be crazy, and sometimes, it seems, we are in the middle of a Hold-Up of sorts.  As a single mom, I was constantly "on duty".  Now, as a mother and step-mother, I seem to always be at least, "on call," for something or someone.  So, each evening after work, he has a Quiet Moment.  Sometimes I would just go in and quietly lay by him, and soon, I would begin listing off the goings on of the day, so fast that I might have needed a citation to slow things down.  A while ago, I made my way next to him, during his Quiet Moment.  Within in seconds, I was rambling again, and rather than reach for his radar gun for speed control, he patted me tenderly and said, "Shhh.....take a little rest, ok?"  That "Shhh" gave me permission to slow down, and in a Quiet Moment, take a 30 minute power nap.  I woke up rejuvenated!  I don't think I had slept that well in years. After that nap, I realized, that as mothers, we are truly officers constantly on call, attempting to control the peace of small and large quarrels.  We are solving mysteries within the home, writing citations for back-talking and disrespect, or for speeding out the door without permission or proper identification of a date.  We are performing search and rescues on toddlers who have climbed too far up the slide in the ball pit, and teenagers who have been out too far past curfew.  And, each time we attempt to park our minds and write a report, another call comes in and we are immediately dispatched on a projectile throw-up call, delivering a forgotten lunch or paper, or better yet, a "Missing Mommy" crisis. 

Among Mothers on duty, comparison of one's strengths to another's weakness is at an all time high, while self-esteem is at an all time low.  And, the number of spiritual and emotional suicides among mothers is almost pandemic in number.  Mothers are facing challenges unique to our day, clinging to our higher power for strength and guidance.  With this post, may I declare, "Mothers, it's ok to take off your badge, and take a Quiet Moment for yourself!!!"  It's ok to Shhh.....yourself, and take a little rest!  I have realized that blending families means more than just getting along.  It means blending one another's schedules, likes and dislikes,  habits and  quarks, strengths and weaknesses.  It means compromise, cooperate, and capitalize!  Compromise with your favorite date-night activity and his.  Cooperate and be a new team, empowered with the past and ready to conquer the future, together.  And, capitalize, on those unexpected Quiet Moments, when everyone is fed, clean and entertained, to sneak another Quiet Moment or two....together!  So, I decided, if you can't beat em', join em', and I started taking a Quiet Moment for myself, each evening. Sometimes we chat a bit, other times we sleep.  Then, there are those moments when no words are spoken, but volumes communicated and understood!  I have also realized that when I slow down a bit, the noise from the day quiets a bit too.  And, in the quiet, He speaks to me.  In those Quiet Moments He inspires me with additional strength and courage for my next "shift".  He enlightens me with understanding to solve those mysteries, to search and even rescue a lost child or friend.
 In those Quiet Moments He calms me.  As I take time to slow down, in those Quiet Moments, He miraculously puts my worries and concerns into perspective. And, alarm and concern become patience and understanding.  And finally, in those Quiet Moments, I am reminded that our children are His, and no one knows them better than He.  So, don't be afraid to take off your badge and enjoy a Quiet Moment!  With the internet and a world that never sleeps, may we remember, the importance of Quiet Moments!  Quiet Moments to pray, ponder and meditate.  Quiet Moments to be inspired and enlightened.  Quiet Moments to share.  Quiet Moments to even, Shhh....and take a little rest.
Take off your badge.  Take a Quiet Moment.  We deserve it!! Quiet Moments! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Scars of Life

I recently finished reading the book entitled Heaven is Here, by Stephanie Nielson.
She and her husband were both, seriously injured in an airplane crash in Arizona.  At the time of the accident, they had 4 young children.  In the book, Stephanie shares her personal journey, through this horrific challenge.  She is real.  She tells of the joys and the pain of overcoming, doing hard things, and smiling when she felt like crying.  Persevering when she wanted to give up.  She describes the depression and the incredible power of will involved in waking up everyday, only to realize that she was still scarred, and still hurting. Her story motivated me to smile more, give thanks often, and be grateful for the little things.  After reading her book, I realized that the main difference between Stephanie and the rest of us, is that her scars are on the outside and ours are on the inside.  Hers are visible to the onlooker, and her very presence provokes compassion, empathy, curiosity and perhaps a stare.  However, those who look at me and you, have no idea of how broken we have been, and the incredible pain we have suffered.  I too, was on a ride with my husband, a ride called, "life", when all came to a crashing halt, and our "normal and security" exploded into divorce and potential devastation.   And, when I woke up from the shock and pain of abandonment, I knew that I would never be the same.  Stephanie's story reminded me that I cannot expect to make it through this life without scars.  And, such scars simply indicate that my past was real.  I really was hurt.  And, I really can rise above it---- and soar even higher than before--- scars and all, better not bitter!!!
 Every time Stephanie looks in the mirror, or someone gives her a second glance, she is reminded of her past.  For me, it is Christmas day, when kids must leave our home, and visit their dad, leaving a scar on my heart.  It is the holidays, every other year and every other weekend, that I am reminded of the scars of divorce and betrayal, of broken trust and broken hearts, of weakness and vulnerability. Perhaps, it is the scars we can't see that are the hardest to heal.  Scars of death of a spouse or child, scars of addiction, scars of loneliness and emptiness, scars of depression and inadequacy, ultimately, scars of Family Change ---- these are deep and take time, and must heal from the inside out.  Reading Stephanie's story reminded me that though our scars may tell where we have been, they do not need to dictate our future.  I may be scarred, but I refuse to sink!!!  Stephanie's story caused me to think and ponder my own life, my own experiences, my own pains and my own scars.  In doing so, I realized the importance of He who was wounded in my behalf, and the powerful role of hope and purpose my Savior plays in my life.
He bears the scars, so that mine won't continually hurt, so that I can regain my strength and move forward, becoming better than I ever was before.  Better because my love for Him is deeper with each scar.  Better because of those scarring experiences that leave you feeling alone and abandoned in your very own Gethsemane.   Stephanie's story touched my heart and the hearts of many.  May we all realize the importance of not trying to hide our scars---- for they may be someone else's lighthouse in a storm!  Never be ashamed of your scars of life---- they only mean that you are stronger than that which is trying to take you down!  So, pain or no pain.  Trial or no trial.  Scars or no scars.  Get up!  Brush yourself off!  And, keep climbing!!  Scars!