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!