Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jack Out of the Box

It has happened.  My sister has had a baby.  It's surreal.  Uh, I'll just tell the story:

AJ got the idea to make this brilliantly clever shirt just two days before she was set to have her baby.
 She and Scott had done numerous polls on his blog to choose the baby's name, and finally settled on Jack for three reasons: 1.  Jack Sparrow, 2.  Jack Skellington, and 3.  Jack Stevens (our grandfather; I'm guessing you know the other two.)  It was pretty funny. 
And Brogurt liked standing on his cousin. 

 Things were not progressing quite as naturally as one would like, so a week past AJ's due date, she checked into the hospital where they started her on drugs to hopefully induce labor.  Here she is at the beginning of the 12 hour process:  high spirited!
She had her iPod going with carefully chosen birthing songs, to which she sang between pushes.
 Then, at 9:38pm, Jack was born!  8lbs 13oz 21 inches long.  Look at all that hair!

I got to go in an see her just minutes after he was born.  It was incredible....

He was SO aware; eyes open, looking around and ready for bear...
 And looking a LOT like his big sister.

Hello, Jack!  It is I, your Auntie.....
(That's what AJ has always said to my kids.  It was so cool to get to say it to hers.)

And Proud Papa...

The Bredthauer Four.
  First family picture, the next day.  Lucy was just so excited to see Ariane. 
As I hear the story, when they called to check on her during labor she yelled into the phone,
"Baby Jack, come out so I can play with my Mom!" 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ready or not, the day has come.

Ah yes, that time has come.  The time when the days get shorter and a little colder.  The time when leaves begin to think about falling.  The time when all little children go to school. 
Whether a Sayyadina is ready or not. 
My kids and I experienced a miracle, and they were pulled - months apart - in the lottery for the Montessori Academy in our area.  During our school travails last year, Muad' Dib and I had read a few books on home schooling and the Montessori Method.  We felt strongly that it would be an awesome fit for our children; particularly for Lemur.  And today he began.  Below are the pictures to mark the occasion.  This one really shows off my sweet son.  How can he be this old . . .?

Oh, and my Rivulet - my baby girl - began kindergarten.  Not only did she begin, she pranced jauntily into school sporting her "Ratatouille" backpack this morning without backward glance, only throwing a few words over her shoulder: "Love you too, Mom!"  Other children were crying, but there were no tears from my Squeaky Jean.  Her hair is in "dog ears."  She just wanted to be sure everyone knew they were not pig tails.

 Awwwww.  Together. 
 They had a fabulous first day, thank you for asking.  They both liked their teachers and found the other students to be kind.  They enjoyed the classroom setup and the fact that they had no homework, happy to have their own cubby or locker.  And Lemur has kept up on his reading all summer long, now being 3/4 of the way through the first book in The 13th Reality series (a 5th grade or above reading level).  And this from a boy whose teachers last year said he couldn't focus.  Bah.  Rivulet and Lemur are both entirely gung-ho about the whole thing.  I can't wait to see what happens next!

And, to assuage the stress and heartache a mother feels sending her babies into the world, at least I still have this at home to keep me company:

My great big serving of cultured Brogurt. 

And warm memories of moments like this.  I sure love my children!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Searching for perspective in the dark, with a flashlight and both hands...

Today I expressed envy for a person who was able to go to a vocal lesson.  Yesterday I yearned aloud to play a particular role again.  Last week I lamented that I hadn't sung out loud - full voice - in months. 
Today someone told me that I am still young.  They told me that they did their best work after 33.  They told me I would have more chances. And I had to leave the room before they saw my tears....

I'm having a pretty big feeling. And when that happens, I tend to leak the feelings.  These leakages look like tears.  But Rivulet knows better.  She knows they are feelings that were too big for my insides. 

There are parts of me that just feel old.  They feel done.  I fear that I will never again sing full voice, let alone full voice on a stage.  And something inside of me paces like a caged animal: longing with creative blood lust to be let out.  I wish there was a way to satisfy both Sayyadina AND this inner animal, which is my voice.  I can't even sing in the car.  What's really silly is that I sang full voice just this past February.  I was pretty pregnant, and still totally ROCKED songs from "The Phantom of the Opera" to a room full of financial advisers who clamoured for more.

Yet...perhaps it is because with the birth of my wonderful and beloved son, I have added at least a two year and much more likely a four year wait onto a theatrical endeavor.  That would put me auditioning for roles at the age of 34. 

The fear inside me opens it's mouth wide and roars "Who will want you then?!  What good will you be?!  How could you compare or compete with the younger, thinner women who will vie for the same parts in the same theaters?!"  And my strength cowers under this barrage of doubt. 

Being as overweight as I am, I feel like a thief.  I steal playtime from my children, because I'm too tired or uncomfortable to play.  I steal a view from my husband, because I barely physically resemble the woman he married.  I steal years from my life by pushing my body beyond healthy limits.  And I rob myself of opportunities. 

People ask friends to join marathons.  They do not ask me.  People plan hikes.  They do not ask me.  People plan trips to water-parks and swimming pools and do not ask me.   People audition for plays, and no one even thinks of me anymore.  Although logic tells me the real reason is that they know I am anxiously engaged in raising my three incredible and well loved children, raw emotion finds another culprit.

When Brogurt was born, my doctor said to wait 3 months before beginning to exercise - at least anything beyond light housework or light yoga.  So I have tried to keep weight far from my mind.  Just be.  Enjoy.  Worry about it when I can do something about it, and not until then.

But it hurts NOW.  Shouldn't I worry about it when I feel it?  Last year was glorious because I was either succeeding on a diet or pregnant.  The weight worry was minimal.  But it has returned.  And I don't like it one little bit. 

I balance on the edge of a dangerous precipice: if I don't think about it, I remain complacent.  But over the years, thinking about it hasn't helped the situation either.  I cannot win. 

I have learned.  I would not trade the learning for all the world.  Perhaps now my faith is again wrestling with my fear.  Faith says that when I have learned all there is for me to learn, I will graduate, meaning leave that school of thought for another (in this metaphor, be able to lose weight). Fear says that this is all there is and I'd better get used to it.  It is from this stem that blooms the flower which now fragrances my soul with loss. 

Because if this is all I will ever be physically, I can only go downhill.  I will only get older and less capable of hauling this weight about.  I will only slow down, become more uncomfortable and less attractive.  I will only...

This is TheaterGeek talking.  This is the part of me that wants to stay in bed and cry when there is nothing wrong.  This is the me that is dying to express itself and feels stunted and stuffed into silence by either the inability to physically or creatively function or the time constraints motherhood places upon these endeavors:  such as with theater or writing.  My homemaker mothering self is thriving.  But my creative processes are another story.  And I am at a loss to fix it. 

Just survive, right?

Then someone had better tell me how to duct tape TheaterGeek and her chorus of doubting nay-sayers until the day arrives that I can edit, write, play, sing or teach. Full voice.  Somehow the half attempts hurt more than not doing anything at all.....

As we speak, I am sucking back tears, trying not to think the thoughts that are very powerfully muscling their way to the forefront of my mommy-centric mind. 

For tonight I have no solution.  And I just needed to write it.  I needed to remember that at age 30, and with the birth of a new child, I felt my days of creative sharing were over; thinking that no one would want to hear from me either by way of the written, spoken or sung word.  Because someday it's going to be REALLY funny that I ever believed it enough to write it down..... 

Yeah. I will laugh about this someday.  Probably someday soon.  Maybe even now. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This is what I do

The last time we saw the family, a new addition had arrived.  The following is a pictorial update from the Seitch.  The first is Brogurt smiling at light, which is his favorite waking pasttime.

Next you see here, Lemur attempting to encourage Brogurt through his "neck-ups."

And his efforts come to fruition.  At three weeks old.  He's my strong little sandworm!

Also, Lemur was baptised.  It was a hectic, crazy, beautiful experience.  He was a brave little man and made the choice on his own.  Muad'Dib sang a prepared song, and I sang an impromptu duet with my dad while they changed clothes.

It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many supporting family members.  I wish we'd not been in such a rush, so I could have taken more pictures.   But Rivulet had the flue, and we were anxious to get back to her. (Thanks to Uncle Scott for watching her!)

Here, we were lucky enough to be joined by my Uncle and Grandma for the special occasion!

 Lemur poses with little brother.  He is so proud to be the "big one." 

Here is Rivulet cuddling the Brogue at 6 weeks of age.  She loves him more and more, as he becomes more fun...

And Lemur is proud that he can hold Brogurt up on his shoulder.

How do I make such good looking babies?!
Though he has an intense case of cradle cap, his baby acne is finally clearing up, to be replaced by heat rash, apparently.  He's still so handsome!

And of course, there has been some playtime with the older siblings, though it might only last a few minutes.  On this occasion, Rivulet and I made a picture of a little boy, and little girl and their dog under a blue sky with a red bird and dragonfly.  Can you see all that?  Blockus has many uses.  :)

Muad'Dib and I also had a chance to shoot photos for a wedding (I'll post a few later) and I was able to do some headshots for a friend.  It was fun to be behind the lens again, if only for an hour...

So that's the update.

All is well. I need to do a LOT of work in the yard, but as yet have not been able to get the bairn to nap for more than twenty minutes if I'm not holding him.  No complaints, though.  I'd much rather cuddle my baby than prune bushes and weed beds. 
Oh!  Funny story:  Yesterday I took the kids to a park with a friend.  We were having a lovely time, and began packing up to leave when I heard a scream:  "No! NO!!! Not in the water!  Someone HELP!" 
My first fear was that a child had fallen in the swollen stream.  It was Lemur screaming and I soon discovered the lost item was not a person: it was his beloved Donkey Kong Truck; the one he'd recieved for his 6th birthday and played with nearly every sunny day since we've lived here. 
I knew how much the truck meant to him, as we had discussed it's uses and significance just a few hours ago on the ride over.  So I tossed down my diaper bag (with phone), sprinted across the bridge and asked where the car was.  He told me where it had fallen, and that it had bounced a little further down before he had lost sight of it in the murkey waters.
I remembered this stream.  We'd played here many times in the last six years.  I knew how deep the water was.... I was wearing my water-proof hiking sandals.  So only moments after the scream, I was wading into the stream supported by a large branch for a walking stick. 
Not two steps in, the creek bed gave way and I fell in UP TO MY NECK!! 
The recent flooding had not left this stream unscathed: apparently it had torn away at the floor of the stream, making a very deep pool where once I could have walked from one side to the other without getting my pants wet above the knee!!
Well, I recovered my balance in the deep and swift water and could barely breathe enough to warn other kids NOT to venture in to help me search.  Luckily, the chattering of my teeth was all the warning they needed.  I combed the murky depths, but to no avail. 
The kids even thought they saw something, but it turned out to be a red golf ball lodged in the shallows of a large rock.  So the truck was gone.
Did I mention that there was a group setting up for a wedding at the park and that they were witness to my crazy venture into a flooded stream to save a TOY?!  Yeah...
Though it was a very Sayyadina thing to do - going willy nilly into water -
I felt awful foolish...
Until I came out to embrace my crying 8 year old and through his tears he said, "Mom, I'm so grateful that you tried.  I'll never forget that you tried.  I'll never forget that you went into the water for me."

Hey.  I'm the mom. This is what I do...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Welcome to the Family!

This was me, April 11, 2011 in Gardner Village where we were celebrating Lemur's birthday almost a whole month before my due date...

Pretty gorgeous, though, right?

May 2, 2011:  I check in to Labor & Delivery at 7am, for a planned 9am C-section. 
 I had a fantastic nurse who checked me in and gathered my medical history.  When I got to the  part where I was whisked to the ER just hours after being discharged (after Lemur was born). She stopped me:
"Was this like 8 years ago?!" 
 "Yes..." I answered, "Why?"
"I was the nurse!  I remember you!"
As it turned out, this was the nurse who cared enough to notice danger signs and took the steps that saved my life when my doctors had simply said, "It'll go away."  She even told me that the ER called up after taking care of me and let her know that she had well saved my life. 
It was wonderful to get the chance to thank her. 
Finally: it was time for baby to be born. 
Muad'Dib and I were taken into the OR, and the docs were playing a Susan Boyle CD as I received my epidural from the same doc who had done my last one.  He remembered us for two reasons: 
1) Muad'Dib's camera; apparently they'd had a conversation about it the last time... and
2) "It's not every woman that giggles during an epidural." 

Well, I didn't giggle this time! Anyway,

My wonderful Doc and his assistant set to work and in no time at all, I heard an exclamation:
"How big IS this kid?!"

The answer?
This picture does not lie: 
10lbs 13 oz.  21.5 inches long.

Opening his eyes just 10 minutes old...

Proud Papa in Recovery.

Rivulet wasn't too keen on time in the hospital.  Lemur took to it just fine:  he was so excited to see his new brother. Rivulet was more concerned about me.  She showed almost no interest in the baby until well after we got home. 

Now a family of five!!!

So:  Here is the Brogurt at home.  Note the cute bassinet and monkey from Aunt Kira, the constant friendship of his very own N+ doll, and the awesome blanket from Aunt Taunya.  When she gave it to us for Lemur's birth I wondered what I would use it for, as it was too thin for a quilt but too big for a receiving blanket...turns out it is the ONLY blanket thin and big enough to swaddle our 11lb bundle of love!  Thanks, T.  :)

It's been three weeks since this handsome boy joined our family.  What have we been up to?  The following pictures sum it up quite nicely. 

We have been well taken care of.  Not only did Muad'Dib exhibit super-human, super-husband, super-father powers in taking care of house, kids, cars and wife, but our ward fed us and came bearing gifts nearly every day.  We had neighbors take our kids for playdates and family members come sit with me while I rode the crazy post-partum roller coaster (known as "The Panic"). 

It was the right time.  I cannot put in to adequate words how incredible this experience has been so far; for all of us.  We all love Brogurt, and he seems to like each of us right back.  He could hold his head up within the first few hours of life, and sleeps/eats at regular intervals. 

As I continue to wait out the crazies (though they are already diminishing), I take comfort in knowing that every moment of every day with my new baby is an answer to prayer.  

Thank you to everyone who has helped us, given us support or gifts, offered prayers, or used your good judgement to keep your germs from us for a short time.  I feel your love in all its forms.  We'll keep you posted! 

Friday, April 29, 2011


Sometimes I give myself good advice.  It has really paid off to "be now."  Granted, the kids - especially Rivulet - have run me ragged with play-dates, but Muad'Dib will attest that I have been maybe 15% as cranky with situations as I was before applying my mind over my mood.

Since the last post I've been beset by painful contractions.  They haven't done anything, however, except cause lots of pain and fire up false "this is it!" hope.  Because even 3 hours of timeable painful contractions were, in essence, nothing.  My doc gave me something to ease the pain just enough so I could get sleep.  And that has been helpful. 

At first I was horribly disappointed that I wasn't going to have another "early" birth.  But then our fridge began it's swan song.  We needed to get rid of one car that was no longer working and another that wasn't large enough for our soon to be larger family.  Oh, and Lemur was about to have his huge birthday party, and I hadn't washed the new baby's clothes yet;  I didn't yet have a bassinet...long list short:  it turns out I wasn't as ready as I thought.  Yesterday was a perfect example.

I had a very good night's sleep and went to my parents' house for the sole purpose of hanging out and letting Rivulet play with her little cousin, Goosey.  I went down to say "hello" to my father and he asked if I could do this one business related thing for him: sending out copies of his renewed licenses.  It's not that hard of a job - just time consuming, so I said yes.  About two minutes into preparing the faxes I wondered to myself "When is my license meant to renew?"  I called the Utah Insurance Department and asked.  It was meant to renew in 2 days.  And I was still 6 CE credit hours short of the manditory 24.  Yikes.   For those who don't know a snit about this world: if I let my license lapse - even though I'm not a producing agent - I would take a significant pay cut.  To get the license again, I'd have to go through ALL the studying and test taking AGAIN, which would be costly, and not only in time (hours upon hours) but also in money (the test alone, last time I took it, was over $100...and I had to take it twice to pass!)

So.  After doing the work for my employer/Dad, I came home and completed the necessary CE credits online and applied for my renewal.  Now, had I had an "early birth" like I wanted, nearly two weeks ago, this would not have gotten done.  I possbily wouldn't have even KNOWN that it hadn't gotten done.

I'll tell you what: Timing seems to be the theme of this pregnancy.  With Lemur it was very much about learning where my limits were - especially as related to family.  With Rivulet, I was meant to learn that "panic makes it worse."  And with this one it's all in the timing.  I got pregnant at exactly the right time to be well and/or sick at managable moments.  And today - actually the last two weeks - are testimony that I will not give birth until "the stars have alligned," or in other words: when the time is ABSOLUTLY right.  Awesome.  Super Awesome.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I will be NOW.

"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely."  - Auguste Rodin

Counting down days is a sorry state of being.  Because then very soon, they are no longer "days" they are numbered ordeals to be suffered through before reaching that other thing we are waiting for.  That other thing which we deem to be of greater worth than ANYTHING that could take place on one of the day's we are slowly bemoaning and marking off.

I felt this way as a child, waiting to be a teenager.  I felt this way as a tween waiting to be able to date and drive.  I felt this way as a teenager waiting to graduate and leave behind high school.  I felt this way as a new college student, waiting to meet my future husband.  I have felt this way in every single downturn of my depression cycle.  In fact, thinking this way often TRIGGERS the depression cycle.  Because it implies that what is happening NOW is not worth my energy or focus.  And somehow that reflects poorly on me TO me and I shut down.  "Must reserve energy for worthwhile events only."  Depression or restless anxiety ensues.

Today I am "waiting" for a baby.  Yesterday the snow fell all day long and I spent the day sitting in a green recliner by the window, just enduring each hour.  I coped with online T.V., "Notting Hill," crocheting and trying to keep the kids from bothering me.

When I woke up this morning, I assigned a new number to the day.  23 days from now is my due date.  That makes today 23.  Not Saturday.  Not Cleaning Day.  Not a day to spend with my children as one of the last 23 days we will have left as a simple, and basically well-functioning family of four.  Nope.  Just "23."

Then I as I was pouring milk into my cereal bowl, I saw the magnet that proclaims the above quote.  Today does not have to be 23.  It doesn't have to be a waste of time.  I can use today wisely.     Wisely meaning: enjoy my children with whatever energy I have.  If that's too much, at least I can use whatever energy I have to be kind to them.  I can sit with them and do what they want to do instead of being a grump and saying, "I'm  too tired to watch you play a game or sit next to you while you paint with water colors." 

Like many people who dance with depression, I fall into the false belief that I only have a certain amount of energy.  Granted:  I'm pregnant, so that statement is a little less false than normal.  Minimum physicality for Normal Sayyadina is Over-doing it for Pregnant Sayyadina.  Still:  If I can muster up the energy to shop for Lemur's birthday preparations, or for 3 hours of work, doesn't that show me that I can muster up the energy to make these final 23 days of Four-Some worthwhile? 

On the last day before Lemur was born, I shopped for wigs in SLC, bought a LovSac for Muad'Dib's birthday and ate very spicy Thai food.  Granted, I was in a wheel chair for most of the excursion, but I still didn't opt out.  

On the last day before Rivulet was born, I walked all over Walmart with Lemur, and we laughed and played as only the two of us could. 

Do I really want to look back and say, "On the last day before Baby was born I sat in a chair and ignored my children because it was snowing and I was grumpy" ?  I don't think that's how I want to remember the next 23 days.

I want to remember Saturday at the Gem Show. Monday: Lemur's birthday; Wednesday: the day I read to Lemur's class from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Friday: the day I play fairies with Rivulet until she gets bored of me, and not the other way around.  I want to remember DAYS, not speed through numbers.  Because we will never be this way again.  We will never simply be FOUR again. 

Being FOUR is awesome.  Being FIVE will be awesome, but it is not here yet.  NOW is all I have.  And if I sacrifice NOW for THEN, I sacrifice for an unguaranteed return, which is risky if not downright silly.  Will I be less tired in 23 days?  Nope.  I'll have just undergone surgery and not really get to see my two children for three days while I lay in a hospital and become acquainted with my new one.  Will I be more able to play with the Two?  Nope.  Two weeks will pass before I can go for a walk with them, or help them take a bath or really fix their meals. 

What I can do NOW is worth my focus and attention.  Baby will come when Baby is ready.  And until then, I have the chance to enjoy at most 23 days with my first two children, and my dear husband. 

I will rest when I have done good.  And if all the kids are asking of me is to sit near them while they do what they do, I can and WILL form my attitude to be one of gratitude for the constant NOW that we are able to spend together.  No more counting off days.  No more wishing today would end so I could get to tomorrow, so I can get to May 2nd sooner. 

I will be NOW.  And I'm going to use all my substantial powers to enjoy it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A few thoughts on age, humility and an answered prayer.

I'd like to say that the sweet chirping of birds roused me from a long, luxurious night of sleep - but it is not so.  In fact, the pain of having two ribs out of place, the need to walk out a charlie horse and a stuffy nose got me up at 6:30 with no hope of relapse into the land of nod.  This is not abnormal.  In fact, I was grateful that the above mentioned discomforts didn't yank me from dreamland much earlier - say 3 am - as they had the past few weeks.   
And it's not so bad, really.  Today is my birthday.  Woot.  I'm 30 today.  It feels very much as it did yesterday.  Tired, pregnant, in love, happy, responsible.  I do have a streak of grey at my left temple that has been steadily gaining a following, like a cult movie.  Besides that....just the same old me.  In fact, perhaps I feel better than yesterday because I went to see the Baby Doctor and he cut a whole week off my wait!  Instead of May 9th, my planned C-section will be May 2nd.  Double Woot!  He also said that the baby is so healthy, that if I go into labor, they won't stop me.  Triple Woot!!!

So:  what do I have to show for the year?  Basically a lot of happiness.  I've written little but done much.  Theater, travels, playtime with kids, quality time with husband and popcorn, taking care of the house like I've never done before.  I even lost 30lbs - though I quickly gained it back when I became pregnant with the precious Third (who is still unnamed).  No complaints there, however.  :)

I really wanted to write because of something that was said in General Conference.  It reminded me that I had not shared something here. 

Remember the Minor Heresies, with promised "further installments?"  Notice how there were no further installments?  I had been doing quite a bit of research into religious and spiritual things, compounded by the waves of truth I was reading in Muad'Dib's book (which I have been editing).  I began writing a few of the debunkings, but they were incomplete and therefore unposted as yet.

Then I was in RS a couple weeks ago.  A friend got up to give the opening prayer and in it asked a blessing on the teacher, Sister So&So.  I cursed inside, knowing that this particular teacher was one I often had "problems" with; then felt bad for that feeling and said a quick prayer "Father, help me be humble."  Then the friend asked in the prayer that Sister So & So would "say those things which thou would have us hear, which would inspire us to draw closer to thee and expand our understanding."

Well guess what?  That's exactly what Sister So &So has been doing!  She and others may have said things from the RS pulpit that I felt was wrong - minor heresies as I called them - but them doing so DID indeed inspire me to draw closer to God through greater study of His Gospel.  And my testimony has only grown from what she and others have taught.  So....humility.

I know many people who have left the church because of something someone said or did.  Very rarely have these people left because of an actual point of doctrine.  Just like the guy who left the church because Brother Joseph spelled his name wrong, these people have forgotten one VERY important thing: People are fallible, but the Church is true.  People can be wrong.  People can misunderstand.  People can use words and phrases that mean something different to them than they do to you (connotations cannot be controlled or monitered, quite honestly).  People can be jerks.  People are people.  Are YOU perfect all the time?  Do YOU always say the right thing in exactly the right way at exactly the right time?   No.  The only person who has done that is Jesus.  So go read His words, and the words of His prophets.  The truth is there.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to "learn" from fallible women and men.  It gives me greater appreciation for the absolute truth found in the scriptures, from God the Father.  Because even if someone says from a RS pulpit, "We'll never get the Second Comforter, so we shouldn't worry about trying,"  I can read Christ's words in which he promises: "I will not leave you comfortless:  I will come to you."

I'm grateful for the courage of the women who stand up to teach.  I haven't had that calling in a long time.  And it's not in my nature to be afraid of such a situation, probably because I'm so prideful. ;)  But for many, it is a stressful and daunting responsibility.  Showing ANYTHING but gratitude for their time and preparation is just mean of me.  And it shortchanges my church-going experience.

So sure:  I can still keep my eye out for minor heresies:  but not to mock the speaker.  Not to get all fired up that people "just don't know."  I will instead take this great lesson, humble myself and wait for the Lord to guide me to further learning.

In conference, I heard it said that we should share our testimonies more often; to not be afraid to share the gospel.  This is me doing that.  I learned something good, and the last thing I had written about church was sort of bad.  I'm fixing that, I hope.

Also, on a related "Prayers are answered" note, both Lemur and Rivulet have been accepted to the Montessori Academy - months after we were told that there was no hope of Lemur's getting in.  (Rivulet was pulled just after the second lottery, but Lemur was denied in BOTH lotteries.)  I had kept praying.  We kept working on his school and saw him improve leaps and bounds. And I kept praying.  I even completed the paperwork for registration, just in case.  The "just in case" happened, only moments after we had been denied entranc to another open enrollment school.  I screamed and jumped about the house like I wasn't carrying a baby, scaring poor Lemur to death with my sudden excitement.  Good times.

Well...It tis time to end the post.  Hope it was a good one.  Feels good.  And that's all I have control over.  :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Nothing special; just an update.

It's been a while.  How about an update?  Sure. 

Muad'Dib:  Still working at the Post Office, and we've been blessed with his getting a few extra days work as we've had trouble with our car (which the kids have named "BooYah.") We've poured a bit of money into keeping the car drivable...and still we aren't sure it's all going to work out.  Turns out a Daewoo is a tricky make.  Anyway:  He's been working on his book - which I have been reading in an effort to edit.  Holy Awesome.  This is going to be one fantastic read.  The possible applications are mind-bending.  On top of that, he comes home every day and spends quality time with the children and helps me with the house.  Basically, Muad'Dib is continuing to be the best, most hard-working wonderful husband and father ever.  He does that every day and I'm grateful he's mine.  :)

Lemur: his eighth birthday is drawing on apace, and he has made the decision to be baptised.  For a while it seemed that he had absolutely no interest in being dunked for any reason.  Then one day in RS, we were having a lesson on the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and I realized I had never told Lemur what he would be getting out of the covenant.  As soon as he learned about the blessing of the Holy Ghost, he was on board. 

Now, remember back in December when we were having trouble with Lemur and school?   As a refresher, his teachers (and principal) were pushing for him to be tested for ADD, citing that he couldn't focus and couldn't learn also telling us that they "didn't have time" for him. Well, after learning that we could not transfer him to another class or another school, we - Muad'Dib, Grandpa Bob and I - stepped up and helped Lemur.  I began "pre-teaching."  Grandpa Bob became Lemur's math tutor, as Lemur and I didn't speak the same math language.  Grandpa has been a great blessing in this endeavor, and Lemur LOVES spending special math time with him.  Although it was often stressful for the poor kid to have to attend school for six hours, and then work in the "School Spot" with me for an hour or more a night, it began to pay off.  His reading has improved leaps and bounds - doubled in fact.  His math facts and ability to listen and stay on task have also improved.

I was prompted in mid-December to begin early morning scripture study.  We've just reached the Book of Enos, and I am positive that this activity has not only helped him emotionally and spiritually, but academically as well.  His comprehension skills have gone way up.  He and Rivulet both ask some pretty perceptive questions and I have seen them understand the answers.

He has two best friends - Alex and Sam - and is going through a very big "Boys Rule" stage.  He is honing his intuitive skills and lets me know that he understands that some kids just aren't "my kind of people; and that's okay."  I still see him try to make friends.  And his tactics are the ones I would sometimes it surprises me that kids don't respond.  Well, he's got two and a bunch of cousins and if that's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.
Also, he's NUTS for adjectives, particularly when used in his favorite DS game: Super Scribblenauts.  Wanna be on his good side?  Just ask him about it.  :)

Rivulet:  Happy as a lark, Rivulet is a very creative, social, funny little girl.  Let me be more specific.  Rivulet is four and a half.  In January, she chose her own haircut (a layered A-line) so she could look like her Aunt Emily (my brother, John's wife).  She looks super grown up.  She and her new cousin, Lucy, are very best friends and love playing together every Tuesday and Thursday while I work.  Yet that is not enough for her.  She is constantly asking for play-dates with girls from the ward or with cousins.  She is looking forward to school with bright eyes and crazy hope.  She has been able to write her name for nearly a year, and enjoys poking her head in while math is being taught to her older brother.  And when I speak of her creativity, well, Lemur and Rivulet are both creative, but in totally different ways.  I describe it as this:  Lemur thinks of things and then finds what he needs to make it a reality; like dreaming up a ramp for his cars, and looks for toilet paper rolls and other stuff to accomplish the dream.  Rivulet looks at things that are already present and makes something out of it.  Often times I find her cutting up a few different colored sheets of paper into a pile of random shapes.  I come back a few minutes later and she has made a circus, paper dolls, fairies, a school, a farm or a party out of the "random" shapes.  It's incredible. 

Both kids are super excited for May, because that is when their baby brother is due.  They are absolutely stoked about the upcoming addition to our family.

Sayyadina: Besides being called as the Ward Choir Director last week, an update on me basically is a bunch of info about the pregnancy since October.  If any of you were present to the previous two pregnancies, it will shock you to hear that I have not thrown up once with this one.  No; my three main struggles have been fatigue, forgetfulness and grumpiness.  So basically, I am SUPER blessed.  Okay, there was the problem with my SI joint being out of place for about two weeks, which translated into LOTS of pain and crying and frustration.  But the Chiro finally got it to move back (after I was able to ease the inflammation with icing, walking, Dreampacker help and a few stretches), so I'm doing much less crying.  Although I still don't have full range of motion, because somehow in that two weeks, my baby and baby belly got bigger.  I have been advised not to clean, as bending over is almost completely out of the question, and I have to really pace myself.  With Rivulet, I was still camping and doing all sorts of activities up until the week before she was born.  And with this little guy, I might be able to do ONE productive thing a day before having to pay a high price later with increased fatigue. 

It's tricky for me to maintain a positive attitude when I can't do those things that stir a sense of productivity within.  Muad'Dib advises me to "just survive".  Those words have a negative connotation for someone who has danced with Depression.  To me, survival means just scraping by, not acutally BE-ing myself, because if I were being myself I would be up.  I would be cleaning my wonderful house, cooking wonderful dinners for my wonderful family, going shopping for baby things, setting up the baby things, helping my sister, working in the garden, being ALIVE.
But, I am smart enough to know what he actually means.  It's just a knee-jerk response to be afraid of falling into a pit of despair just because I seem to have permission to do so.  "Knowing there is a trap is the first step in evading it." 

Being un-able to do for myself and my family COULD be license to fall into a pit.  Or, I could see that pit and choose a path around it.  Perhaps the path of asking for help; the path of gratitude that I actually have a house to worry about; the path of humbly accepting help.

So if anyone is sitting around wishing they had someone to serve:  I offer myself and my house as a recipient of your service.     

All around, though, I am very happy and healthy and so is the baby.  Oh, did I mention it's a boy?  It's a boy.  We found out back in December.  We are still considering names; luckily we have another ten weeks before we'll need to decide.  :)

Since "Crucible" closed we've basically just been a family and done what we do.  Our main focus was Lemur's schooling, Rivulet's social life and keeping up with our jobs. 

In other news, my sister is pregnant (the one who just got married in August), due early September.  My sister in law (John's wife) is also pregnant, due a few weeks after that.  And I just found out yesterday that another sister in law (Tristan's wife) is pregnant as well, due late September, early October.  So my parents will double their grandkids this year, and the Nelson's will go from 17 grandkids to 19.  SO COOL.

So there's the update.  Woot. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Minor heresies: Part 1.

I have a word or two to say on keeping the Sabbath Day Holy.  I will say them as they have been said before because - although it has been clearly delineated not only by God the Father, his Son, and their prophets both ancient and modern - I have heard minor heresy's taught in my own ward.

Minor.  I know they are minor.  And still, in the weeks since the lesson, I have heard women from my ward rattled with guilt and doubtings of their self worth because there is at least one practice that they were told from our RS pulpit that they cannot engage in on the Sabbath day. 

So, minor or not as doctrinal principals may go, I'm still going to quote a prophet on the subject:

"President Kimball taught how we might observe the Sabbath:
“The Sabbath is a day on which to take inventory—to analyze our weaknesses, to confess our sins to our associates and our Lord. It is a day on which to fast in ‘sackcloth and ashes.’ It is a day on which to read good books, a day to contemplate and ponder, … a day to study the scriptures and to prepare sermons, a day to nap and rest and relax, a day to visit the sick, a day to preach the gospel, a day to proselyte, a day to visit quietly with the family and get acquainted with our children, a day for proper courting, a day to do good, a day to drink at the fountain of knowledge and of instruction, a day to seek forgiveness of our sins, a day for the enrichment of our spirit and our soul, a day to restore us to our spiritual stature, a day to partake of the emblems of his sacrifice and atonement, a day to contemplate the glories of the gospel and of the eternal realms, a day to climb high on the upward path toward our Heavenly Father” (Teachings, 216)." - emphasis added.
* view entire WONDERFUL talk here

I highlighted the above section not because it is the MOST important thing to do on the Sabbath, nor can I make the argument that on every Sabbath a nap is the best use of our time.  I highlighted it because it is part of the council of one of our prophets that if we need a nap, if we need to rest: the Sabbath is a day given to us by God to do it.  It is a day of REST.  The God of the Universe rested on the seventh day, and decided it was a good idea to teach His children the same practice of self-care.  

I understand if some have been wronged by others taking a nap on the Sabbath, but that is not license to teach that naps are wrong, lazy, forbidden, lax, idle or sinful.  Especially when President Kimball made it clear that it's okay; even a good idea to actually rest on the day of rest. 

Obviously, this has bothered me for weeks.  It bothered me very much at the time, as well, but I am not called to be the RS teacher, so it was in no way my place to attempt setting-records-straight.  But this here:  this is MY blog.  And here I will make it plain that - to me - even minor heresies will not be tolerated.  Especially those that interfere directly with "Men are that they might have joy."  He didn't say, "Men are that they might be consumed with guilt." 

Speaking of which, I will quote my father in law:  "Guilt is a useless emotion."
I argued that point with him for quite a while, saying that if we didn't feel guilt we wouldn't want to change.  Well, that's not quite right.  By definition: "•Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realises or believes--accurately or not--that they have violated a moral standard, and bear sole responsibility for that violation. It is closely related to the concept of remorse." 

But a person can function forever in guilt and never have desire to change.  In fact, I have been present to feeling SO guilty of a perceived or actual offense against person or deity that one feels they cannot change: that God wouldn't want them now anyway. 

Well, here is the doctrine on that topic:
"In order to be forgiven, we must first acknowledge within ourselves that we have sinned. If we are striving to live the gospel, such an acknowledgment will lead to “godly sorrow,” which “worketh repentance to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Godly sorrow does not come because of the natural consequences of sin or because of a fear of punishment; rather, it comes from the knowledge that we have, through our actions, displeased our Heavenly Father and our Savior. When we experience godly sorrow, we have a sincere desire for change and a willingness to submit to every requirement for forgiveness."  view entire entry from here

Did they saw we should wash ourselves in the salt scrub of guilt: rubbing it in until we are raw and bleeding?  No. I believe the term carefully chosen was "godly sorrow."

I know that "the wicked taketh the truth to be hard."  Doesn't that mean that the righteous would take the truth to be soft?  When our hearts or minds rebel against something that is portrayed as a truth we owe it to ourselves, our religion and our God to first assess our 'stats' (as it were) and then, if we find nothing truly out of order to search it out in the scriptures of our faith and find out whether we are hearing hard truth, or whether we are hearing a half-truth mingled with the philosophies of men. 

"If ye cannot understand, it is because ye ask not, neither do ye knock."  2 Ne. 32:4

In this vein: I have never heard God say "Ask and I shall shut you out of all knowledge because you can't handle the truth."  As I recall, it goes more like this: “ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”scripture here

Russell M. Nelson taught:
"Every Latter-day Saint may merit personal revelation. The invitation to ask, seek, and knock for divine direction exists because God lives and Jesus is the living Christ. It exists because this is His living Church. ... Revelation from God is always compatible with His eternal law. It never contradicts His doctrine. It is facilitated by proper reverence for Deity. To access information from heaven, one must first have a firm faith and a deep desire. One needs to “ask with a sincere heart [and] real intent, having faith in [Jesus] Christ." “Real intent” means that one really intends to follow the divine direction given.  The next requirement is to study the matter diligently. This concept was taught to leaders of this restored Church when they were first learning how to gain personal revelation. The Lord instructed them, “I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” just read the whole talk here!

I am not perfect. And I strive to progress beyond my current knowledge, current understanding and current level of compassion/love.  It is true that I do not know what other people do in their own homes or hearts.  I suppose it is quite prideful to assume that these other people are simply eating up the air-filled half-doctrines and then wondering why they aren't spiritually filled, and that I in my passion for truth have any responsibility to set the record straight.  I do not mean to offend.  If my assumption that some are in need of enlightenment offends: then I apologize.  But to those who are relieved to hear that they are not going to hell or will have the Spirit of the Lord completely cut off for napping on Sunday: have a good rest.  :)

Debunking of further minor heresies is sure to follow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Word Machine

I finally beat my old highest score on the game that resides on my sidebar.

My last best round was 28, with a score in 59,000.

This morning:  made it to round 29 with a score of 73,237.

That felt nice......