Monday, December 26, 2011

A Skyped Christmas

My very first Christmas withOUT all my children...and for me, it was not wonderful. The presents were just presents, the lights were sort of dull, ... The day was pleasant, don't get me wrong. I always love Christmas and it was nice seeing the kids so excited and buzzing with giggles. I just miss Manti, and not having his smile lighting the room too was just hard. His job is turning on the Christmas tree lights before anything else starts, and he wasn't here to do his job. It was hard on my heart.

We had John here, Mesa's new fiance. He hadn't had a Christmas like ours before, so it was nice seeing him become involved with our tradition of family. Still,...John isn't Manti and doesn't fill his shoes. Church started at 9am, and our little boys sang with the choir. So we all went to church and I carried my cell phone in my bra just in case Manti called. You better believe I would have walked out of church to answer a call from him! He didn't call during church though. I stopped by his missionary plaque and stared at his sweet face. I managed not to cry...much. We went home and changed our clothes...till nothing from Manti. We collected gifts for Tommy's brother and got the kids in the car.....and then my phone rang! It was a text message. My phone can receive notes sent by email if you use the right address, and a couple times Manti has done that when he needed to get a note to me NOW instead of waiting for me to get online and just find his note. I thought that's what this was, ....i was so excited I just didn't think. Turns out, THAT was his phone and he was literally texting me! He said it would be an hour or so and he would be on skype. I was a mess waiting for the clock to tick by. His one hour turned into two and I couldn't handle it. I sent him a text message and just had question marks in it. His companion got that message and he got Manti up. Turns out, Manti fell asleep!!!! He got on the computer, and I got to see my boys face.
Isn't he precious? We talked for a bit and laughed together. He told us about families there that he has grown to love. We got to see and talk with his companion (who is a great person!) and we saw our boy as a completely different person. He has depth beyond what he had before. He has experienced some miracles that warmed my heart and opened my eyes. He has been shown that friends here at home love him too...something that surprised him. He knew he was liked...but loved? He grew a bit just from that new knowledge.
Tommy and I experienced a measure of joy just "being" with our beloved son.

And when the time came to hang up, I couldn't do it. I cried, Tommy cried, Mesa cried,.... and I told Manti he would have to hang up first. He couldn't figure it out at first and it made me smile through the tears. I finally told him how, he did it and he was gone. I went to pieces then. I cried probably harder than I did at the airport. I'm not even sure why I cried! I am so proud of him. I'm so happy for him. I am so excited about all he's doing and experiencing. I miss him so much.

It's now the next day, and I'm still leaking from my eyes. When I can get my thoughts together and my words clearer, I'll write more about the things we talked about. The bitter sweetness is hard to explain,...but maybe you feel it in your own way.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Mission Begins

I have a hard time writing this blog now. I've had it brought to my attention that I am walking around in some state of depression and I kinda have to admit that to myself as well. If I look at myself closely, I see it too. I don't like it, and it's not helping anybody. So I hope I can find my way out of the darkness by actively trying. If not, somebody just bring a flashlight :)

So I think everybody who reads this blog (all 2 of you lol) have heard by now about the lady who lives in Utah and has a son serving in the same mission territory as Manti. She has been my "go to" person with all my questions and has helped me through confusion, fears, and some tears. She's also made efforts to bring me smiles. Well, the day Manti got there, he was met by her son, who was kind enough to get a picture of the two of them made for me, and then he emailed it the next P-day. Wasn't that nice of him?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Time For a Change

On Monday, Manti will leave Provo and arrive in Albuquerque. Most missionaries will get the opportunity to call their mothers and take 3 minutes to say they love her and listen to her cry. Last week, Manti got special permission to send me a short email on a NON-p-day to tell me not to expect that phone call from him. The reason is because he has demonstrated himself to be quite trustworthy and responsible and has been asked to serve as "Travel Leader" to all the missionaries going to New Mexico at the same time as him. Part of me is hugely proud that such qualities are recognized in my son for a second time since he arrived at the MTC. The selfish part of me misses that boy and cries inside because I wanted to hear his voice so badly...and there is a good likelihood I won't get to. My fingers are still crossed that those others will behave well enough for him to be able to take that moment on the phone also,...but experience from the past 8 weeks tells me not to expect it.
So this makes me feel that yearning for my son all the more. His transition is MY transition. As he grows through this mission, so am I. I've never prayed this much before...I've never felt the pains of sacrifice quite this strongly. Not even giving birth has been this intense for me---and I had a couple rough births!
When we put Manti on the airplane and drove away, I went to pieces. My heart felt ripped totally out of my chest and thrown to the ground. I cried so hard, ... and as we left Nashville without my son, I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to help me be stronger than this, to endure this time well. He did. In my mind, I began to envision a quilt. I could SEE it in my mind, although there was blur to it. I felt its purpose and symbolism very strongly, and in my heart I KNEW that this was a project for me to tackle that would help my heart find that strength I had asked for. My mother helped me tremendously with it, and thank goodness for that because she IS a seamstress and I'm just glad I can SPELL the word 'seamstress'! But I felt it needed to be of my doing and I did it. Mama figured the measurements, I picked out the fabric and started the plans. Mama and I both talked to my siblings and as a family, we put our heads together for one purpose and made this quilt happen in a matter of a few short days- not even a week! In the first 2 days, the whole quilt was together and just needed to be tied, hemmed, and signed by friends! During those 2 days, my sisters' and my brother's families compiled a page with a note to Manti or pictures or some way of telling him they wished him well and with their own hands, they gave him a memory of themselves. My children and husband did the same, Mama and Daddy did also. We took a square home and had Tommy's brother draw on one too. And then we assembled a blanket. I stitched and stitched on it....and it is so pretty. When it was done, Mama and Daddy tied the first ties in it, and then Daddy wrote a note on the bottom side. Mama wrote one next, and then I took that quilt around to other friends (most of which are considered "family" to us in some way) and had them write a short a note to him also. The quilt was finished in no time, and my hands felt empty..... and yet full.
(I think you can click on the pictures to see them larger)

Yesterday, I closed the box up that contains this quilt and sent it to New Mexico. It should be at the mission home on Saturday to wait for my boy to arrive. In the box, I explained the symbolism of the quilt to my son,....

The fabric on the front is the same as a bag that a close friend made for me. I carry my herbs in that bag, and he'll recognize it as a carrier of mom's medicines. This alone is healing to a mind, and it will be a strength to his I'm sure. The messages range from funny to spiritual, and are very indicative of the family he is from. He will feel close to each individual when he sees their very own hands involved in this. It is native in several ways, just as Manti is, and one of those ways is a flaw in it. Native belief is that no artwork should be "perfect" should resemble humans who are also imperfect. So there is a strip in it that is upside down. One of the messages tells him that we- his family -will hold him as he sleeps through the night, will take those worries and fears and stresses and keep them while he rests. I envision that as his mother, I am taking care of him through the night, just as I did 21 years ago.

Those of you involved in making this quilt- Thank you! You helped me find strength and comfort. Those of you helped with this quilt- Thank you! You sent love to my child.

Now as we jump from one experience into another, he has a new vision of who he is and where he came from, and because of those of us who love him, he will also have courage and support to bring a similar joy to numerous others.

It's a good change!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Jedi

May the "force" be with you!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Daydawn Got Broken

When I was younger, I wasn't always agreeable to waking up on a schedule. At some point, my mother tired of begging me to wake up and get out of bed over and over each morning, and stopped trusting my alarm clock to gently sing me into wakefulness. She devised her own method of waking me and my siblings up, and it was the most effective ploy EVER!

Now if you don't know my mother, then you are missing out on creativity of a unique sort. I think all of us kids got at least some degree of that from her, and I think we all appreciate that gift given to us. This one area, none of us ever really appreciated. It just seemed so harsh and was WRONG to do to us! What did she do? She sang.

Our Grandmother (Mama's mama)...bless her heart...taught this unique singing ability to our mother. They both might deny that, but it only takes hearing them both sing this way just once to become a believer. Mommaw was "born under a wandering star" that would make your skin crawl right off your arms and leave you. Mama would take on a similar tone and howl (yes I use that word intentionally and yes I know Mama will likely be the first to read this blog. Truth is truth!) the formerly beautiful hymn "The Daydawn is Breaking." If the entire first verse didn't do the job, she would catch her breath and assault our ears further with the second and third verse if necessary. We learned fast, and rarely were the extra verses necessary. Sadly though, that first verse would get to the end before ALL four of us had drug ourselves out of bed completely with both feet on the floor. The end result of that is without having read through the words of that hymn over about 4 times in my entire life, I can sing that first verse word for word.

I'm currently 40 years old, and that trauma of my youth has never left me. Occasionally, Mama will still crank up those vocal chords and assault our ears again when we visit, so my children understand that when we visit Granny and I say GET OUT OF BED NOW....I mean it! When we're at home, though, my children have been less in tune with my request of waking up.

Today we had stake conference at church. For some reason, I really wanted to be there. I can't explain why it mattered so much, it just did, and I woke up at 8:45am! We had to leave at 9:30 to be on time, and my kids are slow slow slow on a Sunday morning. So I started into their rooms with the usual "Time to get up kids, it's church day, get up and get dressed, let's go, let's go." Nobody even rolled over! I was in no mood to be yelling at anybody or having to get Tommy to do battle with the kids FOR me,.... and all the sudden the inspiration came to me....

I tilted my head back, took in a deep breath, and quite loudly began to howl....

The daydawn is breaking, the world is awaking. The clouds of nights darkness are fleeing away. The worldwide commotion from ocean to ocean now heralds the time of the beautiful day. Beautiful DAYYYYYYYY of peace and rest. Bright be they DAWWWWWWWN from east to west. Hail to thine EARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRLIEST welcome ray. Beautiful briiiiiiiight millenial day.

Mesa was out of bed by the phrase "The clouds of nights darkness..." and Morgan was out of bed (with the assistance of Mesa screaming "GET OUT OF BED BOYS, NOW!") by the phrase "beautiful dayyyyyy..." But Jared wouldn't get up, so Mesa proceeded to beat him with a pillow to aid her panicky screams. By the time I finished that first verse, Jared had rolled his over and looked at me. I was going to start again, but Mesa pushed me aside and ran to Jared to drag him out of bed.

I never thought I would do that to my children, but I experienced pure joy as I did. The church hymns really have that kind of power! My heart is full...thank you Mama!

The moral of this story is:
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger so we can inflict it upon others later in life!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The District

I'm on a Missionary Moms email list. The list divides itself out to specific mission locations, so Manti's mission area is one list (the one I'm on) and there are umpteen others so moms of missionaries in those areas can correspond and support each other.

So recently I was saying hi to a new mom who just joined the group and had told us all where her son is going. He is in exactly the same mission as Manti, just a month and a half behind him. Another mom had also said hi and told the lady her son was currently in the MTC, Spanish speaking, and leaves the MTC on the same day Manti does. So my comment came after hers, and then the lady said "Oh yeah, I meant to tell you I had gotten a picture of all the guys in our boys' district." So then she emails me this.....

It's from a throw-away camera and she had to scan the print, so that makes it grainy....but who's complaining? MY BOY IS SMILING! I don't know which one of these is his companion, but I printed him a copy and sent it to him asking him to label it with their names so we would know who is who.

Tell me this doesn't make your heart warm and mushy :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cub Scouts-Future Missionaries

13 years ago, Manti was a cub scout and I was his den leader. He and I worked hard on all sorts of activities. He learned so much and I can see that scouting molded his character. Today, Manti is an Eagle Scout who has won Carroll County Eagle Scout of the Year and is now serving a mission--carrying his skills and character to total strangers. He is continuing the scouting values in a whole new way.

And here at home, I am guiding Morgan through cub scouts and preparing Jared for cub scouts. We use Manti as an example quite often. Today, our project was to achieve the Communicating Belt Loop. One of the requirements for this award is to write and send a letter to someone. I found directions for folding a piece of paper into a shirt, so I took those instructions to scouts and showed the boys how to do it. Then they wrote letters to Manti on the inside and dropped them into my "mail slot"/envelope. I will send them out in a day or two. Are they not the cutest little things?

One day, .... at least some of these same boys will be Eagle Scouts....and hopefully missionaries after that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Newest Morganism

Morgan: "How do you get to be a convict in the church?"
Me: "What? Do you mean a 'convert'?"
Morgan: "Oh..... yeah"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Morgan is 10

Happy Birthday to Morgan- yesterday!

Last year, Jared's birthday came at a very inconvenient time. I was tied up with the Ag Center's Heritage Days and we camped out there and put up a "living village" demonstration and lived the demonstration-literally. Jared's birthday was in the middle of that, and having cake and ice cream while camping in October is just plain difficult. So poor Jared missed out on having a birthday. We were so broke we couldn't do anything anyway, but Tommy scraped together a couple dollars and let him pick out some toy soldiers for his birthday. He thought we forgot him.

That has haunted me for 11 months now.

Yesterday was Morgan's birthday. It comes at a generally more convenient time and it seems to work into other happenings quite easily. I knew I wasn't going to have much money though, so I was worried and kept thinking about poor little Jared who is always trying to measure up in everybody's eyes.

I had a job cleaning a house, so Mesa and I went at too:early am and got that done. We got paid and split the money. We went directly to the bank and cashed that check and then went to walmart. Wednesdays are scout days, so I had no chance to make a cake OR cook birthday dinner, so I picked up a nice black forest cake and then went on the hunt for presents. I had to be sparing on the prices, but I could do this! I found some $5 movies and got him 2, and got him a bottle of BB's. Then Mesa and I walked into the toy section. There were sea monkeys! Mesa got him some.

Home we come, grab up everybody and head to scouts. Tommy took Jared (with Jared's $2 in hand) to the Dollar Tree where he bought Morgan a light up laser sword. After scouts, we went to Little Caesers and picked up 3 hot and ready pizzas for supper. Home we went for our "party" where Morgan proceeded to squeal with delight with all this awesomeness. Then he HAD to start his sea monkey water!

Today he got to add the eggs to the water. He wanted to know what his new babies would look like, so we googled them. Have you ever wondered what sea monkeys look like?

So back to Jared.
Jared wants to know is HE getting a cake and presents this year or do we plan to forget him again?
Um,... does anybody have an answer handy for me?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Granny Getters

Get her boys!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To Last Week's Dopehead...

The lady that just shopped POLITELY and left here happy said I'm wonderful.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Not Quite There Yet

I sent my baby across the country where I can hardly have contact with him. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, BUT I DID IT and I didn't die from it---yet. I was handling it pretty well, I thought, but things are heaping up on my feelings faster than I can process them and now I'm not so sure I'm handling them at all.

It started with Thursday night. We came home from TN and Manti wasn't there to check on the animals and do his nightly chores. That wasn't too terrible, and believe it or not, I didn't cry when I saw his jacket still on the back of the dining room chair. When I went to my bedroom and found a precious letter on my pillow from him, that DID warrant tears, so I shed a few, but I was smiling while I did it. I needed that tenderness from him.

I thought I was ready to go on to work and handle the stuff that comes in there. Well...I wasn't mentally or emotionally prepared for the man who came in with HIV and felt the need to offer me condoms and education on his personal condition. I didn't know what to do but listen and try not to look horrified. I felt exhausted and had a toothache, so I took something for it and went to bed early. That should be a good thing, right? It was...I slept till 7am! Got up for work, and before I could get out of my car, my phone was ringing. I started to ignore it, and I still don't know why I answered it, but it was the little girl Manti had gotten pretty fond of ... and she wanted MY advice. Me, of all people,... she wants my advice on dealing with her loneliness now that he's gone. She clearly doesn't know me. She took the advice I gave very graciously and I have to admit I was pretty impressed with her manner. I was more impressed with myself and having words to offer her!

A few hours later, I'm pining for my boy and fighting the urge to cry. I looked up a song Mesa had me listen to and posted the youtube of it onto facebook. Next thing I know, Mesa is telling me to go check my email. Sure enough, there is an email from Manti! MY FIRST ONE! I started crying before I even opened it. The letter was nice, it warmed my heart, but it had an impersonal and rushed feel to it that made me ache for more. It was sent to me and Tommy both, not either of us individually. I feel like a rat for feeling disappointed it wasn't just for me. Still, it was a letter and that alone was priceless, so I printed it and hugged it and cried like a baby.

Anyway, the day progresses and this man comes in asking for a product that helps cover up the use of drugs in a drug test. It could be used to clean up and quit, but this particular one, almost nobody uses it that way. So he asks for it, I show it to him, and he has this older guy start writing a check. Store rules are that I can't accept a check for detox products. Simple as that, so I told him so. He thought that was "jacked up" and left to go get some cash. I said ok, and felt like they really would be back, so I went ahead and wrote up a ticket and got it all ready for them. Shortly after, the younger of the two came back in for the bottle with cash in hand and wanted to know how did I come up with $1.60 for tax on $22.95.........I did it on my adding machine again to show him that's what comes up when you multiply $22.95 x 7% and add them together. He handed me the cash and I made change. As I was handing him the change back, I dropped a dime on the counter. I was moving a little quick because my emotions were still a bit churned up from crying over Manti's email. I told the man I was sorry I'd dropped the dime and reached to pick it up and hand it to him. He grabbed it instead and said "don't worry about it, I can read your body language. Would you hand my bottle of Stat and I'll get out of here." So I handed him the bottle, a bit confused, and then I reached for a sack and his receipt. He said he didn't want them and walked out of the store. As he was going through the door, he says "Wow, you're pompous!"


Am I?
What did I do that seemed pompous?
How in the world did I convey that right that moment?
Am I really?

So now I'm a bit worked up, because I don't know if I'm really portraying myself (or think of myself) as "self-important" or not. I don't know!! Was I coming across as trying not to touch that man? I don't like to touch a LOT of people,...just ask my kids! It's got nothing to do with my own self-importance. It's just unnerving to me to be touched all the time, and if you're a stranger, it's even MORE unnerving to me. But I don't intentionally hold things out by the tips of my fingers to keep myself from brushing against someone. Is that why he thought I was that way? Because I dropped a dime? Or because I was shaking a little from crying earlier? Or is he really that big a &$%#!? I'm sure his conscience is as dirty as his urine and bloodstream, but is that enough to encourage such things?

And then I sit back down at the computer and see that Tommy has posted a note that Manti has emailed, and he says "this" and "that" and "something else".....and those things aren't in my letter that was sent to both me and Tommy. I know this is childish and jealousy and it's all garbage I need to get rid of,.....but did Tommy get a special note in his email and not me? Did he email Mesa and she read her letter to him and that's how he knows this? I'm praying its the second one and not the first. My feelings are so raw and feel so trampled on already that even something stupid as this burns a little more. It also makes me look at myself and say "holy crap your pompous person! Do you think you have to be more important to him than the rest of your family?".....I don't mean to, but maybe they think I do?

Makes me not want to go home from work today.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Farewell Party

Ok, so he's left already, but it's taken me this long to get enough time AND presence of mind to do this.

The Farewell Party

I realized after setting it all up that I had taken charge of this party and planned it totally out. It's Manti's party though, and HE should have some say in it. So I went to him and told him "this is your party, get it started." He did!

He thanked everyone for coming and told them how much he loved them all. I was proud of that. He asked for an opening prayer and blessing on the food, then invited all to eat. Once the food was pretty much gone, he asked Frank to take care of dancing things. So Frank stood up and explained to all what we were doing. He assembled his drummers to include Tommy, Morgan and Jared too... and started them drumming. Manti danced alone at first, then Frank had Mesa and I dance alongside him. We danced a few times in a circle with all of his relations.

After the dancing, Manti held a "giveaway" and gave away some of his things.

Quite a different farewell party, right?It was very enjoyable though, and Manti dictated how it all would celebrated.

Friday, September 2, 2011

In the Words of Jim Croce...

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
Till Eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Raingutter Regatta

We finished the shopping for Manti today, and in the midst of that hubbub, we had another son participating in a Raingutter Regatta race. That meant scrambling to finish a boat. So Morgan sanded his boat body so it was nice and smooth. He painted it the colors he wanted (gold on the top and bottom, green around the sides and on the mast) and then he wanted a "cool design" on it. At first, he said he wanted to paint a portrait of Manti on it. ...... so I suggested we do the symbol called "living waters" and Morgan went for it.

I drew the outline of it in pen. Morgan took a silver sharpie and went over it. Then we used some polyurethane to coat it a couple times. It wiped the silver right off! ACK! So after the polyurethane dried, we went over it again with a black sharpie. That worked! Then he wanted to draw Manti on the sail. I'm starting to get a little concerned about this :\ So we talked to Manti about different designs and their meanings. There is one we see Manti draw a lot. It almost looks like clouds, and it actually represents the four directions, but more specifically, the four winds. Now how perfect is a boat with the living waters drawn on the sides and the four winds drawn on the sail? So Manti drew that design on Morgan's sail. You never saw a happier boy,.....until I let him name his boat the S.S. Manti & Morgan. The racing was fun, but building that boat and bragging to his friends that it was made in honor of his big brother--- that was the purpose this child had in mind.

How did I get such good sons?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Temple

Well, it happened. The day came. We went, we participated, we survived, and we came home. We did it all in one day too! I'm still not sure how, but we did! It was a day full of emotions and a little tension, but I've been told by many who sent sons on missions before me that days of tension prior to that plane taking off are completely normal. [Abnormal for our household to be 'normal']

We stopped at the bookstore first and got a few odds and ends (namely Manti's hymnbook, which I got his name put on) and then we raced off to the clothing store. Guess who had to get a new dress! We won't discuss why. Manti got his new things and we headed into the temple. Friends were there waiting for us and met us at the door. That felt nice! I passed out some family file names so that some of us would be going through for Tommy's family at the same time. It made a special occasion seem even moreso. [insert that shark music...duhn duhn duhn duhn duhn duhn duhn duhn]

I felt pretty good about things, but the wait was getting to me! We went to the chapel to wait for the session to start, and in come all these people I know and care so much about. I was truly surprised to see most of them there! I don't know why,'s their character to be at things like this, but I was surprised nonetheless. While I sat and waited, I realized how many years had gone by, how much time I had to teach this little bitty boy who now looks down to me. I thought of the experiences I had shared with him. I thought back to the mental images I have of him looking up at me and doing things with me. I remembered his love of pizza as a toddler, and his calling my tropical fish "sushi" because he couldn't say fishy. I remember him handcuffing his wrist to his ankle with Tommy's cuffs right after moving to Idaho and having to explain to the police department why we own cuffs and how Manti could have gotten them. I remembered the day he was baptized, the day he lost his imaginary dog.... so many days. I admit, tears found my cheeks.

Skipping ahead, I was seated across from Manti and Tommy. In came Daddy who sat by Tommy and Mama who sat by me. In front of me was my best friend and in that same row were two more very very precious friends. I looked behind me and more friends were coming in,... it was so sweet. I realized I was proxy for a family member, Tommy was proxy for a family member, Daddy was proxy for a family member and Joe Mills was proxy for a family member. All of the sudden, the room was filled with my family. I couldn't feel a distinction between blood relations and friend relations. We were one family. Annette reached behind her to me and held my hand, and that feeling was solidified.

The evening was very beautiful. It was enlightening and motivating in many ways.
That night, Manti's heart had become so full he could no longer keep it to himself and after all had gone to bed but he and I, Manti tells me he feels so very different now. I asked how, and he says "I'm stronger." I asked what that meant and he said he wasn't real sure, but he felt literally stronger. He also said he felt warmer. I had to laugh at that, but at the same time, I told him it was a good warmth. He said "it's a warmth that keeps me safe. I like it a lot." Manti isn't a person of many words,....but the words he says reach deeper than their generic meanings. I looked deeper and felt more in those words after pondering them. What truth he spoke!

Look at the light in these eyes....

This is the "before" picture.

And these are the "after" pictures...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Making Ends Meet -- Recognizing Blessings

When Tommy got hurt back in 2003, that nice paying job he had became a memory. We went back to struggling to make it and haven't really gotten past that too much even since then. I got a part-time job and it definitely helps. Even still, with 4 kids at home, stuff STILL comes up on a constant basis and makes life hard.

THEN Manti's mission call came in and reality hit me so hard I just collapsed into an emotional puddle for a few days. Everybody (well some people said it nicely, but not all) told me I needed to get over myself and look forward to the blessings that would come to because of his service. Enough of them have said that (that it made me mad, first and foremost!) till I decided OK FINE! So I'm looking, and I mean I am really LOOKING for those promised blessings!

Well, a lady I work with mentioned me needing extra work to a client of hers. Next thing I know, the lady comes in to the shop where I work and asks me to come do some housekeeping for her. I asked if I could bring Mesa (who has pleaded for a job for over a year now) and she said yes! YAY! A little extra money helps!

The day came and Mesa and I drove out to her house. I was blown away by the number of figurines she wanted dusted, but you know what? That was a blessing because although it's tedious, it isn't strenuous and my body is demanding I not do strenuous stuff for now. Mesa took care of scrubbing bathrooms and she mopped floors. Five hours later I came home with more money in hand than I earn at the shop in a full day! The lady also scheduled us to return each month! AND on the way home, I got called by another lady wanting me and she said her friend wanted me too, as well as my boss's sister. YAY! Blessing: check! I split that money with Mesa, so now she has job and since its just the two of us, she learns about the differences in net and gross education plus job for Mesa that doesn't cost ME! YAY! Blessing: check!

Yesterday, Mesa got a phone call from a friend of hers that works at a computer data center in town. This business is owned and operated by a LOT of LDS people and we go to church with most of them, although a few attend wards in our stake, but not ours. Thing is, I think they are ALL active! Safe place to work, you'd think? :D Anyway, he calls her and tells her to be sure she answers the next phone call. She does, and its someone who handles hiring for the company. No, Mesa had NOT put in an application, so yes, big surprise! The lady asked her a few questions and asked if she would be interested in coming in for an interview the next morning. Mesa said YES! That was scary to me. Mesa has to get her drivers license (was going to be anyway, but for the job she'd HAVE to) and then the scheduling...that could be hard on me.

So last night, Mesa and I sat down and analyzed her life. I wrote a resume up for her from that and really highlighted things she had done in her activities. She had to admit she had not realized how much she gotten to do and achieve in her 19 years! I'm proud of that little resume too! Then she got to ironing her shirt so she would have crisp seams to wear to her interview. This morning Manti too her to the interview and he waited in the car for her. She was soooo nervous, so she and I said little prayers while they drove. When she arrived, the receptionist had her sit and wait for the lady. Luckily, the phone rang so Mesa paid attention to how she handled herself on the phone. (The job she's applying for is a receptionist job.) The lady calls her in and starts asking her questions about her resume info. I listed that she got her Young Womanhood Recognition award, so the lady wanted to know what was that. Mesa described it as being like a girls version of an eagle scout award and told her about some of the projects she had done. The lady was impressed. She has a certificate for 2 years of seminary (which burns me up that they wouldn't count her 2 years of home study!) so the lady asked what was that. She was impressed by that and then tested her by asking her to quote scriptures. She did! She wanted to know Mesa's favorite scripture, so Mesa quoted James 1:5 and again, the lady was impressed. She asked about the time Mesa had volunteered at the animal shelter. Mesa had answered phones a few times and I listed that. So she hits a button on the phone, and the phone rings. She tells Mesa to answer it as if she worked there. (Remember that phone call the receptionist took when Mesa first came in?) Mesa answered it very well and quite professionally and then asked how she could help. It was actually the receptionist that called, and she asked for a person at another department. The phone is labeled with departments, so Mesa transferred the call to the right department and impressed the interviewer again. She asked why she answered that way and Mesa said she listened when the other call came in and followed that example. The lady was glad because that actually reported on the other receptionist who was supposed to be following a script!

All in all, my little girl was a grown up today and presented herself very well. Her hours are only 2 days a week, the same 2 each week, and they match her present schedule PERFECTLY! I couldn't ask for better! She'll be paid more than minimum wage (Manti grumbles about that) and will be able to tend to her own needs and save for her wants. YAY! Blessing: check!

Glad Manti is going on a mission. I'm going to miss him so much and cry a lot too,....but I'm so grateful to him because he is giving us some much needed relief in the form of blessings and the ability to SEE them for what they are. For a change, I think my ends are going to meet!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Faith Vs. Mountains

Did you ever see that movie, Jason and the Argonauts? There's a scene in it where the men arrive at a desert-like place and skeletons come up out of the ground and commence to battling with the Argonauts. It seems like for every skeleton they whack down, two more come up out of the ground. That gives you a sense of hopelessness for a moment. After some time goes by, the guys start to get ahead of the skeleton evolution and begin to win the battle, but it doesn't happen immediately.

I sort of feel that way sometimes, especially at times that require me to have faith. It's almost like the skeletons feel the need to outnumber me so that I'll just give up and quit. I don't know how they come up with SO MANY in their group, but they always do! I never have quite that sized army on my side.

There is hope, though. I just have to be vigilant in looking for it. I can never look solely at the skeletons or my peripheral vision closes in and I miss the volunteers that are on the outskirts of the battle, and I think they are always there, just less visible. I have even discovered that I can name the skeletons because it seems like they reuse the same ones a lot. There's "Financial Difficulty" and "Car Trouble" and "Health Problem" and "Unexpected Bill" and "Bad Timing" and "Emotional Upheaval" .... just to name a few. I did say there is hope out there, right? And there is. If I look around me, I can find my friends "Scriptures" and "Close Friends" and "Patriarchal Blessing" and "Loved Ones". There are fewer on my side, but the hope comes from knowing that the ones on my side of the battle are STRONGER than those on the dirt skeletons side.

Crazy analogy, I know. To be more specific, it is so hard on me and my family and our feelings for Manti to leave. There are so many things involved that it is easy to get overwhelmed. Sometimes it seems like I do all this to please someone else and just overlook my own needs and feelings, and that's how I get that tunnel vision that cuts out my view of those around me willing to help make it easier. We've gotten the majority of the things he needs to take with him. If we don't get it all right now, it's really ok, because the US postal service delivers and he has a mailing address already. I can ship him the things I haven't gotten yet. So that eliminates that point of stress! WOOHOO! He studies his Spanish notes and flash cards everyday, and he reads his scriptures (and knows them better than I do!) everyday. He is very familiar with his Preach My Gospel book, he is preparing....another stress eliminated. He has a plane ticket...I don't know how that works, so that's a stress, BUT we'll go to the airport as a family and the task of figuring it all out isn't my burden alone- we'll share it, so it will work out. Another stress bites the dust!

Satan is the source of the stress, fear, difficulties, problems that pop up,.... he is the one leading the army of dirt skeletons. I just have to remember that they collapse when hit just once, so I can win this. I have to swing my faith every step I take,....and if I do it, it will all work out. I can not only beat the skeletons, but I can even move the mountain they are coming out of :)

Now I just have to come back to this blog everyday and read this again and again so I don't forget it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Missionary Plaque

"And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?"

Ether 3:9

Can't Sleep

It's now 6am. I didn't get sleepy enough for bed till about 12:30am, and then because of a nameless few, I wasn't able to rest enough for sleep until after 1:30am. At 5am, I started the flip/flop toss and at 5:30 I was awake and in the bathroom using a waterpick on my teeth. Now it's 6am and I'm sitting in a dark livingroom with a laptop in my lap and a yawn on my face. Looks like the makings of a long day ahead.

So for today's goals, I hope to accomplish a few things:
  • take pictures of Manti for his missionary plaque
  • pick up my paycheck
  • deposit my paycheck
  • pay the water bill
  • print a good picture of Manti at Walmart
  • buy a pair of shoes for Jared
  • pick up a few small items on Manti's missionary list
  • get stuff for supper
  • take Manti to get shots they couldn't do the other day
  • talk Mesa into doing some household chores (like cooking supper!)
Is that enough of a 'to do' list? Please say yes.
Tomorrow I have to go to Douglasville for an appointment, and then Wednesday morning Mesa and I will be going to a lady's house to clean for her (trying to make a few extra dollars so ends have a better chance of meeting). After that is cub scouts and I'm taking the boys to the police department for a tour. [We moms are hoping we can play with their chalk and draw outlines on the sidewalk of the boys. :D ] Thursday I work, Friday the kids are going out on a group date and Saturday I work. Maybe next Sunday there will be time for a nap!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Educating Children....The Hard Way!

My children are learning biology...whether I like it or not!

Morgan (while observing our rabbits) :
"Attack of the killer rabbit-- WAIT!--why is he attacking?"


Jared (while observing the same rabbits):
"DADDY! I think one of the rabbits just laid an egg!"

*glad it's not Easter!*

Jared had a special tiny glass. Morgan accidentally broke it. Jared was totally distraught, so I promised if he'd wait for Monday, I'd take him on a special "Jared Day" and we'd buy a new glass. So Monday morning came and Jared got up early. He went into my dresser and laid out clothes for me. When I got up, I found them (and him proudly waiting for me), so I started getting dressed. He announced to me...
"I got you everything but your boobs!"


Conversation this morning:
Mesa, frantically looking down and all around- "WHY??"
Jared- "Your boobs are there!"

I guess it's time for a bit of a talk with my boys.