Would you like to translate this into another language?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

#1's Weekly Email: Week #2

Prior to the letter there is a short sentence or two about the "bazillion" emails she received. This made her super happy.

I've changed the names to protect the innocent here.



So this week (starting on Sunday) had its highs and lows. Everyday switched off.

Sunday was the devotional and that was obviously amazing. Sister P. (yes, mom the one that i'm friends with on FB from Cali) and I saw President Monson from our window in the building. We seriously spent the next 2 hours squealing :) We weren't in the choir because we got there a week too late otherwise all of us would have been in it just for fun :)

Monday was good but sobrang uneventful. Nothing really to report.

Tuesday, we had a devotional and that was probably the greatest thing ever. I've never felt the spirit that strongly. Sister Janice Kapp Perry spoke to us. That woman is sobrang amazing. She has so much spunk for a woman her age! I hope I get to be like her when I grow up. We sang so many Primary songs with her and she made a new version of the EFY medly but made it missionary style. She rewrote As Sisters in Zion and made a missionary version. Oh man I can't tell you how much I loved it.

So, funny story that happened. Sister Perry told us the first thing that her husband said to her. She was warming up her clarinet reed for an audition and he tapped her on the shoulder and she was like "what? I'm up next." and he said "Those lips look like they were made for something better than playing the clarinet." HAHAHA! And when she told us that he got up out of his chair, came over to her, and right in front of all of us, kissed her right on the lips! Oh man we were laughing so hard. All the elders started clapping and cheering and they even stood up. Sobrang hilarious.

Wednesday was another down day. Not much happened. Oh! but we did finally get to go back into the cafeteria and eat normally. Before, because of the new mission presidents, we had been eating in the gym. It wasn't as fun. The new kids showed up. Let me tell you, it is soooo nice to not be the new kids anymore. We actually know more than some people now!

Thursday was the last time we taught our investigator. She wasn't a real one, turns out she's our other teacher. But it was a really good lesson and we really felt the spirit. And yes we did speak Tagalog to her :)

Friday, yesterday, was pretty good too. Finally got a letter from L. telling me where he was going. I seriously think I jinxed him because I was so convinced that he was going to go Spanish-speaking. Heavenly Father just decided to be like "Oh joke-lang. He's going to Japan where he already knows that language." Sobrang jealous...

And finally today. We were all going to get up and do the yoga class that they have for the sisters at 6 am but when the alarm went off, one of us got up to turn it off and then we all just kept on sleeping. We slept until7:15... It was so nice though. All of us needed it. We're going to the temple today :D We go do a full endowment session with all of our zone and it's so amazing. I seriously love having p-days on Saturday, it's like having an actual weekend.

So mom asked about the food. Some of it is good and some of it is not so good. Sister T. and I have learned to scope out the cafeteria before we pick what we're going to eat. Last night they ordered Papa John's pizza for all of us. It was soooo good. Wednesdays and Fridays they have ice cream from the BYU Creamery. Oh I love it here :)

Oh! Sister S. (a sister in my district) showed me an awesome Ezra Taft Benson quote and I want to share it with you guys.

"I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works he will get the spirit; if he gets the spirit he will teach by the spirit; and if he teaches by the spirit he will touch the hearts of many and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time, and talents, and interests will be centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work - there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work."

Oh and I should probably tell you that after a week all of us are becoming quite awkward. We don't touch each other at all and we saw a couple of people walking around the MTC holding hands. It was so weird and we all looked at each other like, "Is that ok?" hahaha can't wait to see how we are after 1.5 years.... :)

Ok so Mom, in that package that you send me can you put a bunch of my sheet music in it? I want all the Les Mis and Phantom and my disney book and my Jon Schmidt book. And Only Hope and the Transformers theme song and Hallelujah please :) If you could do that that would be awesome.

Time to go write some more people back.

Mahal Kita!!!
Have fun and be safe. The church is true!
-Sister Hess


We also received four pictures. Here is one of #1's MTC district:

#1's companion is the sister in the pink skirt. Three of the young men are Elders. The fourth, I believe it's the one farthest to the right, is their teacher. All of the girls are heading to the same mission. The Elders are all going to the Cavite Mission, if I'm remembering correctly.

Oh, and I just shipped her the package of items she requested last week. Ah well. Sheet music, how hard can that be?

  Kumusta = hello
  Sobrang = a lot; really
  Lang = only
  Mahal kita = I love you

Oh, and yes, she actually did sign it "Sister Hess."

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Things to Do

Today we celebrate #7's birthday. Our kids only get a big party with friends every four years, so this will be #7's first birthday party. On the off years, they get a smaller celebration with family and one friend. For this party, #3, who has aspirations of being an event planner, has it all laid out. I put it in her hands. It's going to be so fun!

image: community.thenest.com
This morning, we have a Tinkerbell cake to make. I'm using my small Pampered Chef bowl to make a doll cake. I've never done this before, so wish me luck.

We also have a baby shower to attend this afternoon, so we'll have some blanket making to do--me and #3; although, we might rope #s 4 and 5 in as well. When we all get going on it, we can be done in less than a half hour.

#1 has Preparation Pay today. It's typically called "P-Day," but we're learning at our house, it must be referred to as Preparation Day, or somebody around here can't stop giggling. Ugh! This means we should be receiving an email from her.

The great thing about this whole mission letter thing is that since we've been writing to missionaries for years, our kids are well practiced. Along with this, our kids learned the great joy of receiving letters from missionaries. #1 knows that writing back is super important. I'm really excited to hear from her.

I sent her a package yesterday. For some reason, she wanted her big fleece blanket. We also sent her some cookies. We'll see if they're any good by the time she gets them. She also wanted a few clothing items sent. #3 and I unpacked and repacked all of her boxes. I thought she'd put her blankets in one of the four boxes, so I ended up opening them all. It ended up that the blankets were in a closet. Oops. Anyway, we refolded all of her things and organized them into the boxes and marked every box with what was in it just in case we ever have to search for something for her again.

#1's guy friend (that's what we'll call him) just got his mission call this past week. He's going to the Tokyo South Mission. YAY!!! He's been studying Japanese for a few years, so this is nice. It doesn't always work out that way--I studied Spanish, but it's sure nice when it does. It ends up that his mission president was my teacher in the MTC all those years ago. The world just keeps getting smaller.

The Warden and #2 return some time this afternoon from high adventure. I've heard from the Warden twice while they've been gone. It sounds like they've had a BLAST. They've been through the Redwoods and have jet boated, just to name a few things. I can't wait to see them and hear all about the amazing things they've done. They may walk in in the middle of a four-year-old birthday party, but we shall see.

The other thing I have to do today is pick up my Bountiful Baskets. I did this a couple weeks ago too. It was great! I'm looking forward to the fruits and veggies we get for this week. I'm going to go a bit early to help unload the truck.

Also, another twist on life....I've cut back on a number of things. Driving with #1 a few months back, I was expressing my displeasure about a few things in life right now. She shared that I was doing too much and that other things around here were paying the price for that. She encouraged me to cut some things out, so I started in that very day. It was hard to do because I believe that what I've been involved with has been very worthwhile, but for now, my focus needs to be here at home.

I have to be honest, with a grandmother that passed away at 37, I dread the idea that if I die young, I won't get to do all of these things I really feel passionate about. I feel like I have to do them now, or they may never happen. It's amazing how this grandmother affects much of what I do and don't do. I think he story is tragically sad. I figure, at this point in life, I celebrate every year I've survived since 37. There is just so much to do in life, and I want to live to do it all.

When I called to cut myself out of one responsibility that I took on a few years ago, the woman I spoke with shared with me that she totally understood. I was so surprised with her support. She said that this is one of satan's greatest tools--to keep us overly busy and distracted so that we lose focus on what's really important--our families. Wow! She couldn't have said anything better. I knew I was doing the right thing.

In the meantime, there have been three new opportunities thrown my way. I have to be honest, I only rejected one of them. Of the other two, the responsibility was filled while I was deliberating (I was at camp that week) and this most recent, I'm doing. The good thing is that it isn't a long-term commitment and doesn't require a lot of time away. The two commitments I pondered undertaking were both that way--short-term commitments with little time required to do them.

A friend called yesterday, while I was purchasing the fabric for the blanket and gave me the chance to join a walking team for the Hood-to-Coast Relay. I'm super excited about it, and it really is just what I need--something to get me moving a bit more. I also get to hang out with some FABULOUS women. Not sure what could be better than this.

So, there's life for you. Now, I'm off to make a cake with some kids and get a blanket started with another kid or two. I'm looking forward to an email and to seeing the Warden and #2 today. I don't think they could get home fast enough. I've missed them! In the meantime, though, I think I may have enough to keep me busy.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

#1's First Email (highlighted for quick reading)

Here's #1's first email. It arrived today through #3's email. She's the only one who'd emailed #1. The rest of us wrote her letters through dearelder.com. I'm figuring Saturday must be Preparation Day (P-Day). If you don't want to take the time to read the entire thing, I've put what I felt were the most important parts in bold.


Kumusta pamilya!

For some reason the at key isn´t working so I have to write the family through yours. Again, emails would be much appreciated. The keyboards here are way screwed up.

Anyways, I wrote you guys a letter about the first day. You should get it soon. Sorry about the messy handwriting.

Life over here is good. My kasama is Sister Taylor and she is so sweet and funny. She´s a planner and I´m definitely not so she´s very good for me. Learning the language is a lot of fun but it´s also very frustrating. We taught our first investigator last night. I know, three days in and they´re already trying to make us teach people. It didn´t go too badly but it could have gone way better.

I´m living in a room with 5 other girls. They´re a lot of fun but there´s so much estrogen in the room that sometimes it´s hard to breathe. They´re pretty crazy. We´re all going to Olongapo and we´re all so excited.

Um what else.... Our guro is Brother Cook. He´s so funny and he likes to laugh at us a lot but he´s a great teacher.

The food over here is sooooo good. Every single meal we all eat until we´re stuffed and then we kind of just want to sink into a food coma but of course we can´t cuz we have to go straight to class.

It´s not as hard to stick to the schedule and be obedient because we´ve pretty much been thrown into missionary life. We don´t need to worry about all the rules and stuff because they´re so easy to follow, which is super nice.

Everyone here is so nice. We finally got to take our dork dots off our nametags on the second day. Everyone around us on the first day kept yelling at us and welcoming us to the MTC. Everyone is so happy to be here.

I´m not sure what else to tell you guys... It´s crazy over here but so fun and it´s such a great environment. We get to go to the temple today and that should be fun. It sounds so relaxing. Last night was really funny because we were all so exhausted that we´d hit the breaking point and we were laughing at EVERYTHING. It was hilarious.

Oh, there´s some stuff that it would be really nice of you guys to send me... I need a jacket, like a sweatshirt, like my Encore one maybe. And I forgot my white cardigan that Mom and I bought the other day. Oh and a blanket like my robot one and my pillow, if you can fit it into a box. And if you can find my Batman shirt, I´d really like that too please 

Anyways, life is good. Hopefully we´ll get our mail tomorrow but right now I´m feeling very neglected because no one emailed me... Not even ***. [#3] you have my permission to punch that kid ***. Please do and say that´s from #1 for not emailing.

Okey dokey, have to go prepare for the second discussion with my kasama now. We have it tonight. A bit nervous but I know that we have the Espiritu Santo with us and he will guide us and make sure that we come out of this ok. Oh! and tomorrow is the broadcast. We get to go be there. All of us. I am soooooo excited. Look for me on the big screen 

Life is so crazy over here. But I know that this is where I am supposed to be. No more sitting on the computer watching Netflix movies. I´ve been reading the scriptures nonstop. I´m gonna finish it again before I leave. I´m already in Alma. It´s so great.

Ok I´m done. Be good guys. Don´t be dumb. Miss you and Love you!
Sister Hess

*** Yes, things have been edited to protect the innocent.

If you read the entire email and aren't familiar with missionary-ish kinds of things. #1 mentions a "dork dot." When a missionary first arrives at the MTC, he/she is given a black name tag with the missionary's name and the name of the church written in the language of the country where he/she will be serving. They also put a round sticker on the front (In my day it was fluorescent orange. Not sure if that's still the case). The missionary has to wear that sticker for that day only just to show that he/she is brand new and probably could use a little extra help around the place.

Here's also a little bit of translation of the Tagalog words she's inserted. You can probably figure out most of them, but again, if you're not LDS, we kind of have our own vocab sometimes:

Kumusta - hello
Pamilya - family
Kasama - companion
Guro - teacher
Espiritu Santo - Holy Spirit
Paalam - good bye

There you go. You've just spoken Tagalog! Way to go, you!

Please feel free to email my girl if you'd like. You can contact me for her address.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

But, I Thought She Was in Utah

One way or another, I just may be crying by bedtime tonight....

#1 had to pay a baggage fee today at the airport. I watched her put her debit card away when the transaction was completed.

While I was on the computer this afternoon, I checked email and there was an alert from the bank saying that an account was "overdrawn."I had just transferred some money to cover baggage today in #1's account, but sure enough, it was her checking account.

Someone had purchased $1.40 worth of food at a McDonald's in New York City and than $341 at Macy's also in NYC. Her checking account was empty.


I called the bank--Chase. Hate 'em. Sorry, is that too strong a word for you? Let me try again....Nope, hate 'em's all that comes to mind. It turned out that it was a good thing this happened today and not tomorrow. I can still reach her tonight via my niece's cell phone. As of tomorrow, getting in touch with #1 will be a lot harder--not impossible, I'm sure, just harder.

Here's the bad thing. In order to report fraud on the account, she has to do it. It's her card. Even though I'm on the account, I can't make the report. So, in other words, if this ever happens again, we're screwed. Since I'm the one who's keeping track of the account, I'm the one who would know it had happened, and the only way to get the money back is to report fraud. They won't allow me to do it, so #1 would have to. Just not sure how this would work. Again, probably not impossible, but WAY inconvenient. In short, I have very little trust for Chase.

Tomorrow, we switch banks. I called a credit union right after all of this happened, and they said they had a way to set up a card for #1. I'm not sure if this is going to work now that she's not here to sign for it, but I guess we'll see.

Wow! Who knew?

I think Chase'll be sad to lose our 11 accounts and, eventually, our mortgage. Wouldn't you think?

And Just Like That....She's Gone

Wellllll, she's off, and I (yes, me. Crier of all criers) didn't cry. Okay, so I got a bit teary and I wouldn't let go of her when she hugged me and I couldn't just walk out of the airport and leave her waiting in that big old security checking line and I had to watch her all the way until I couldn't see her anymore, but, and this is a BIG BUT, I didn't cry.

To be honest, I feel like I kind of blew it by not crying. If there was ever a time when tears were appropriate, this was it. I should have cried. Okay, I did for a bit this morning when Zan gave her his last father's blessing before he went to work. It was beautiful and included everything that needed to be pronounced upon her. Lovely. Yes, I cried and nearly sobbed.

The airport was a ZOO. We got there two hours early. #1 had assured me that she would only need her ID in order to get her boarding pass. Hmm....Maybe that's why I had the impression that I should print off that email she forwarded to me with her itinerary on it, but I didn't do it. DUMB! Listen and do....listen AND do! We needed the confirmation number, so not having a smart phone, I called a dear friend, instructed her on how to access my email account, and she gave me the number. Thanks, Christy!

All of that was really no problem at all. It was the checking of the bags that was tricky. You should have seen that line! UGH! Seriously it went on FOREVER! We went to one line, and then the Warden decided that the better idea would be to go to the skycap outside and check them there on the curb. Again, the line was long; although, not nearly as long as the one inside the airport.

Right after we got settled in that line, a woman came dashing out of the airport with a very concerned look on her face. No question she was frazzled, but little did I know, she was our tender mercy. She was frantically searching for a place to check her bags. Her two children, probably ages 7 and 10, were in tow. She made her plight very public. A man sitting down the way asked where she was headed. Her response: "Salt Lake." Wait! She was going the same place, but she was frantic. Were we supposed to be frantic? Hmm...Maybe so.

The man directed her to go inside and find the "woman in red." She would help them.

Alrighty, then. We were off too. #1 and I took off and trailed the woman. We ended up standing in front of the ONLY guy who was checking in our flight, but we were also standing right in front of all of the people checking their bags for our flight. I don't think they were too happy that we intended to cut in front of them.

I asked the people in line if they were bound for Salt Lake. They were, so I proceeded back farther and farther and eventually ended up in the back of the line. The woman with the children, still frantic, told everyone she was going to Salt Lake and needed to get in line in front of them, which she proceeded to do. No one argued. Nice of them. For some reason, it seemed she thought she was going to be the only one on that plane, or at least, the only one that mattered.

We, eventually, got ourselves to the front of the line and paid the money to check the bags. I was impressed with that poor Delta airlines worker who was so friendly and genial when I'm sure he has to deal with grumpy people, one after another after another. He was so great to us.

We hurried to the family, took a few pictures, hugged #1 like crazy, and let her go. But, I couldn't just let her go. It was weird. I wanted to watch her until  I couldn't watch her anymore, but remember....I didn't cry. I got close, and I teared up, but not a tear dropped and the tissue remained in my pocket--bit old wad that it was.

She serpentined her way through, passed security without a hitch and off she went without turning back.

#1 just called a few minutes ago. She is with my sister's middle daughter, who also happens to be named Julie (we're both named for my grandmother) in Salt Lake. They were heading to dinner..... Thank goodness! #1 wasn't able to eat at all this morning because of the excitement.

Tomorrow, #1'll check into the MTC around 1pm. I'm so thankful she has Julie. Julie also served a mission. Her's was to Argentina. She will make sure #1 gets there safe and sound and that she'll have a blast in the meantime.

I created a Spotify station this morning that is comprised of songs that #1 plays on the piano frequently. If you've ever heard Cristofori's Dream, that's the main song that reminds me of her. When we got home from the airport. I turned on the Spotify channel. This was the first one to play. I just thought it was so fitting for the day and her situation....and mine.

I teared up, but....I still didn't cry.

Monday, June 17, 2013

One More Update Before She Leaves Tomorrow

image: Julia Shinkle
I've decided that I have to write everyday now. My girl will be gone tomorrow, and I want to make sure we have a record of all of the wonderful things that happen while she's gone.

It's funny how things evolve in your life, y'know?

I've come to the point where I know that God is at the helm. He really does know ALL. He's in charge; therefore, I can let her go. I can watch her walk out the door, step on the plane and rest, assured that He is taking care of her--good or bad (as we perceive it) is all good because He knows her better than I do, and He knows what she's got to do and have to reach the potential He knows she has. It's all good. Life is good.

Last night, #1 was set apart. I have heard that term many times. Whenever someone is given a new calling (assignment) in church, they are "set apart." I guess, though, that I had never really considered what that meant. Last night, as #1 was set apart as a full-time missionary, it took on new meaning. She is now, literally, consecrated to the Lord. She is His tool to use as He wishes. She just needs to be obedient.

Wow! This is serious business.

My brother and I with our mom
and niece just before we left
on our missions.
Before we left for the church, while we were driving in the car, we spoke of the importance of what would happen. I asked the kids to please remember what was said and to report what they remembered to me after it was all done. I recall my mom writing down what was said when I was set apart all those years ago, and many of those words were a great comfort to me in the rough times while I served. I want that for #1 as well.

After we returned home, the kids got ready for bed. #1 now has to have a companion at all times. #3 has happily taken on that role.

I walked into the girls' bedroom. They were both writing in their journals. I asked what they remembered from what was said, and they both tilted their journals toward me. They, at that point, both had an entire page dedicated to what was said. How amazing to have two viewpoints of what had happened.

It is sad to face the realization that the world really doesn't understand the significance of a missionary's service--the sacrifices made. It has hit me that a missionary gives up everything even down to his/her first name for this window of time. He/she gives it willingly.

image: bootcampwithjess.com
My cousin, who is retired Army nurse was here this past weekend. She is not LDS, but went out of her way to join us for some of this weekend's festivities. At one point, she mentioned how some of the things #1 was going to do were very similar to the military's way of doing things. I had never thought of that before (maybe because I've never been in the military), but yes, I guess that's true. Sometime, when I have more time on my hands, I'm going to have to analyze that. But, in a very real sense, #1 has joined the Lord's army, and yes, there will be a spiritual boot camp and she will earn her stripes as she goes along and does what is asked of her by the Lord.

Yup. This is pretty serious stuff.

In just a little while, we will leave for the DMV to get #1's driving record. It will cost a whopping $1.50 (why even bother?). She will pick up her last paycheck, and we'll get my name put on her checks. The time for earning is over. She's ready. She's done everything we've asked of her.

We have a number of little items to purchase today--batteries for her camera, probiotics, a big ol' supply of feminine hygiene products (thank goodness they make them thin). One more pair of shoes and a passport holder will arrive in her mailbox at the MTC shortly after she arrives.

It's all falling into place. This is what she was meant to do. So nice to know that He's in charge.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Four More Days

image: hiusa.org

Four days!....and I'm feeling a bit frantic. What to do? What to do?

After a wee bit of stomach pain, the typhoid pills are taken, her things are all together, and she's busily packing her room away for a year and a half.

Why does that suddenly seem like SUCH a LONG time?

image: seasidecarouselmall.com
She wanted to go to the beach for one last time, so today, that's what we'll do. She's in search of a floppy cotton hat (on her packing list). There's a GREAT hat shop at the beach, but the kids usually try on the wackiest thing they can find. So much so that part of me wonders if there's a legit hat anywhere in the place. Regardless, that's where she wants to look.

She also still needs to get her driving record. That will happen Monday.

image: roadsideamerica.com
We'll take our traditional stop at the cheese factory on our way home today and pick up an ice cream cone. So happy for these little family customs that somehow bring stability and comfort during times like these.

I rode in the car with her yesterday, and I suddenly realized how I'm taking all of this for granted. It just hasn't clicked yet. We had people in our home the other night to say good-bye to her, and I just felt like Wow! How nice to have friends over.

When will this seem real?

Now that I look back, this is how I felt around the time she was born....Clueless! I went in to be induced that morning and was cracking jokes and having a good ol' time. Yup, clueless! That is EXACTLY what this feels like. Subsequent deliveries were met with a bit more realism and even a tiny bit (Haha! Yah, right....Tiny bit?) of trepidation.

She came home from saying good-bye to friends last night. She went straight downstairs to her room--very unlike her. I called out to her, and I could hear the tears in her voice. I haven't seen her cry since she was a baby. This child is a rock. I went down to talk to her. #3, lying in her bed across the room, eyes very wide with what look like shock, said, "She's crying." #1, busying herself with clearing her bed from all of the stuff she has yet to pack, chimed in, "And it's not pretty."

She assured me that she knew everything was going to be okay. She has such conviction for what she's doing. "It's just going to be such a long time." One of her friends is heading to Hawaii tomorrow and is currently waiting for his mission call. She knows that it will be two and a half years before she sees him again. Tough!

So, the next three days, we will fill with packing, taking care of those last preparations, and having fun. She leaves on Tuesday.

We discussed her last dinner with us while we were driving around yesterday. She wants my mom's dip*. That is all. I tried to pin her down on a real meal. Nope. She wants my mom's dip. So, that will be what we shall have. I may add a meal around it, but if that's what the girl wants, that's what she shall have.

That's what you do when you only have a day left, I guess.

*For the recipe, see the Madhouse cookbook, and good luck.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Good-Bye, Nutella....Oh, How I'll Miss You

Dad and me
Went to see my dad today. While I was there, I asked him when his stomach problems started. I remember him having almost constant stomach pains when I was a teenager. He shared that he'd pretty much always had them. The interesting thing was that the only time he didn't was early in his marriage and then again when he served as a bishop.

The reason I asked him was because I, too, have been suffering from stomachaches. I noticed that I was going to bed with them and then waking up with them in the morning. I had had a bad stomach when I was a teenager, but haven't suffered from it again until just recently.

My dad's parents
My dad told me that both of his parents had stomach issues as well. His brother died of stomach cancer a number of years ago, and my mom died of colon cancer. I guess I'd better interject that I know that cancer doesn't actually kill people, it's the periphery illnesses that accompany it. In my mom's case, it was pneumonia. In my uncle's case, I'm not sure, but he passed away on my birthday my second year in college. I remember hearing, though, that by the time they found his cancer, the tumor was sizable.

A couple months ago, I started to get these little promptings to change my diet. I wasn't sure how to go about it, but I knew I'd probably better do something. These promptings started in before my stomachaches started and before I recalled the history of gastrointestinal tract cancers in my family. That reminder only fueled the need to do this. It look me awhile to get my act together and figure out just what I was going to do.

image: alimentblog.blogspot.com
For the past three weeks, I have changed my way of eating. I have eliminated white flours and gone to whole grains. I had a blood test run to see if I was gluten intolerant, and it came back negative, so I'm sticking with the whole grain thing. I have also taken sugar and white rice from my diet. I'm eating lots of fruits and veggies, but I'm also eating protein and dairy.

image: epicnutellafreak.tumblr.com
So, yes, there goes my Nutella. DARN!

Since I've been doing this, #1 has made cookie dough twice. Next to Nutella, cookie dough is my next big weakness. 

The first time she made it, I was able to walk by the bowl like it was no big thing. The second time, though, #3 was standing by the bowl giving some to the kids. She said, "Mom, you've been doing so well. Just have a little bit." So, I did. BAD MOVE! Within an hour, my stomach hurt so badly and continued on into the next day. It was so bad that the Warden called me from work midday just to check on the status of my stomach.

So, I guess I'm on the right track.

With the sugar thing, I have heard that sugar feeds things like bacteria. If sugar feed bacteria, what else does it feed? If I cut off the sugar from my diet, maybe I'll cut off the food supply for something bad inside me. Maybe that's not correct thinking, but that is my theory nonetheless.

image: futurity.org
#5 and I arrived at his soccer practice a half hour early last night, so we took the time to drive to the grocery store to get him a snack. He purchased a peach, and I bought a nectarine. We also shared a bag of pistachios. It was such an interesting experience. The aisles I would have normally been drawn to weren't even a temptation for me. My brain had accepted them as not even an option--forbidden territory. I didn't look at them as evil places, per se. It was just that they weren't worth my time. I wasn't interested.

So, from here on out, in my "What's for Dinner" section, look for cleaner eating ideas. I'm still working on having crock pot recipes for dinner, but I will also work on including breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas that fit with this healthier way of eating.

I'm hoping to have found the key to eliminating the problems it seems that generations of my family have suffered from.

I have to add that during this time, while I was figuring things out, I happened across this little fact. I'm thinking the whole red dye situation in our home has me wondering about how much extra crapola gets put in our daily diet. Well, I'm done with it. Just trying to do it in a prudent way.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Unity through Family Chaos

At the Warden's school, near the end of every school year, they have a big after school soccer tournament. Yesterday was the day.

The Warden invited us to come watch. I had to take #5 to an eye appointment at 5pm, so I turned him down, but after the appointment, knowing that the tournament was going to go on for awhile, I swung by the house, picked up the kids, and we took off for the school. #1 was at work and works close to the school, so she drove over and beat us there.

image: jsgilbert.com
Before arriving at the school, we stopped and picked up some pizzas. While waiting for the pizzas, the Warden called. He said that he saw #1's car in the parking lot. Where were we?

Although I had tried to text him earlier, he hadn't replied, so I didn't know that the tournament was over. We'd missed it.

I asked him to scrounge up some soccer balls, and we'd meet him there anyway.
image: rolphroadschool.com

We all met up at the front of the school and headed to the back. We broke open the pizza boxes and went to town eating pizza while we sat on the hillside by the soccer field.

As soon as the pizza was gone, so was everyone in the family. #7 and #6 were appointed team captains and each chose a team.

#7's team:
The Warden

#6's team:

image: safelawns.com
I, being the odd man out, volunteered as cheerleader. It was pretty much girls against guys. They took off for the field.

You may wonder who won, and to be honest, I can't tell you. Chaos reigned in the funniest way. #2 was out there chasing people more than he was chasing the ball.

As we walked away, I turned to the Warden and said, "Now I remember why we had them all."

A little family activity once in awhile, no matter how simple, sure seems to increase family unity.

We're going back to doing this kind of thing once a week.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Another Mission Preparation Update

We went and had #1's immunizations a week ago or so. While we were there, they were insistent that she have a rabies vaccine, which would have been fine (the church didn't order it, our insurance company did), but they wanted her to have three shots each a week apart. The last shot would have had to happen on the 22nd. She enters the MTC on the 19th, so we'll all just hope that she doesn't meet up with any rabid animals while she strolls through the jungles of the Philippines.

image: sa-matt.blogspot.com
Anyway, she got her dTap and her typhoid pills. I misunderstood and thought she'd be taking the pills every other day for two weeks. It ends up that there were only four pills, but there are side effects for two weeks (at least, that's what I think I heard when #1 described it to me).

#1 called the church health office a couple weeks ago. I was at the preschool the morning she made the call, and she called me right after. She told me that she had just spoken with the "cutest little old man." (Those of you who loved my description of "older" people in my previous post about living history oughta love that it's genetic; only my description might even have been a bit more mild than hers. Then again, she used the word "cute," so maybe she wins. I don't know. I'll let you decide). Her specific question was about the malaria shot. He told her that if the church felt she needed one, they'd make sure she got one while she was in the MTC. Then he proceeded to give her all kinds of tips and hints on how to repel mosquitoes.

Before she hung up with me, #1 said, "He told me if I had any questions or problems, I could call him at home, and he gave me his home number. Man, I love Mormons!"

Wow! That's going above and beyond. What a nice guy!

image: fullerssupplyco.com
One of the tips that he gave her was about a chemical the military uses--permethrin. He asked her if she had time to soak her clothes before she left. At that point, she had about a month before she was to leave. He told her to buy a bottle of it and follow the instructions. The chemical would stay on her clothes either until they disintegrated or were dry cleaned.

image: soulshepherding.org
He told her that when she walks down the street, the mosquitoes will catch wind of her at about five feet and will turn tail and fly the other direction. "The people will think you're some kind of god," he shared.

Today, we have three bags full of clothes out hanging in a tree in our backyard. The smell is strong. You soak the clothes for about four hours and then hang them out to dry. Once you wash them, I suppose you can't smell the permethrin anymore (I'm not sure of that as I haven't experienced it yet). I'm hoping you can't smell it, or that's going to be one VERY long flight for whoever sits next to her on the plane.

So, tomorrow she'll be done with the typhoid pills and her clothes will all be done soaking and drying.

She speaks in church on the 16th and has been given the topic "the light of Christ."

We are definitely heading into the final stretch. She leaves in twelve days.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


image: superstock.com
Once upon a time, within the last ten years or so, there was a tropical storm in Florida that caused a huge amount of damage. One thing was reported in the news. It went a little something like this--During the time of clean up, two organizations were apparent more than any other, one was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the other was the Mormons.

I remember the Warden reading this to me. We both had a good chuckle over it.

During the past two weeks, I've been a bit miffed by something....I have heard from two different sources that the newest thing that Pastors are telling their congregations is that members of the LDS church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a.k.a. the "Mormons") don't go to heaven.

PUH-leeze! First of all, these words don't scare me because I know better than to rely on the "arm of flesh," and I know that ultimately God is going to make that decision. Second of all, I'd really like to see that list and how this was decided. Fascinating!

I figure that's pretty prideful of someone to say such a thing...."Neener, neener! I'm going to heaven, but you're not." Silliness!

image: blog.al.com
So, I wonder, when the day comes that I'm helping you dig your house out of the rubble from an earthquake or a tropical storm or a tsunami, are you still going to be telling me that I'm not going to heaven?

Heart Breaker

image: mcctherock.org
A little girl stood right next to me this morning as I sat working on a project. I leaned over and asked her if she was going to the preschool graduation tonight. She quietly responded, "Yes."

I proceded to ask her if she was bringing her mom. "No, because my mom lives in Portland."

"Oh, then are you bringing your dad?"

As she responded with a shake of her head, my heart started to break.

image: goodereader.com
"Then I will cheer extra loud for you tonight."

She immediately grabbed me around the neck, climbed on my lap, and enveloped me in a great big hug.

Maybe what every child in this world needs, no matter what his/her age, is one more person cheering.


image: mlive.com
I'm up....Kids crying my name in the middle of the night.... Coughing.... Needing to be covered up again after getting up to use the bathroom.....

This has been my night so far, so I'm up.

Just as I start to doze off to sleep again, I hear my name again in the darkness...."Maaaahm. I need you...."

I finally got her settled in my bed and then thoughts start to creep in as I think about her.....What can I do better? How can I be a better mom to her?

I don't worry about where I've gone wrong, but yes, there's been plenty of that in our history. It is destructive to think that way. It makes me want to stop trying altogether.

image: ct.gov
I figure so many parts of being a mom are like quitting smoking. You know, they say even if you've smoked for years, if you stop right now, there are still benefits to your health.

That's how it is with moms.

Let me explain.....There are things I've been lousy at lately. I will openly admit that. It's okay for me to admit that; it may even be healthy for me to do so, but to dwell on it and scrape up every little thing I'm doing wrong does nothing but bring me down. Not healthy. Discouraging.

What I do instead is look ahead. What can I do differently from here on out?

image: gbi.photoshelter.com
I'm learning that the mother is the rock. I don't care what society says these days. It seems that we're at a point where everyone says that a mother and a father can do the same jobs equally well. I don't agree. Mothers have their jobs. Fathers have theirs. It's that way for a reason. Yes, there are situations where children only have one or the other, and in those situations there is no choice, but when there is a choice, to children, mothers are the rock.

I am setting the basis upon which my children can build their lives in their early years. I teach them the basics. I am their moral guide and teacher. I lay the foundation of their characters.

Think that what I do doesn't matter? Think I can be lazy and half-hearted in this job I've undertaken?.... Guess again.

image: whchurch.org
In the past few days, I've seen two examples of where, unintentionally, I've set a poor example for my children. I saw it on Sunday during church, and I cringed. As I saw it, I had no choice but to admit that it was my stubbornness and pride that taught my children that. I saw it again when, because I was verbal about my disagreement with how someone did something, my poor example made my son choose to be unforgiving of a person. In some ways, I have poisoned my children, and it is my job to set those things right and get myself and my children back on the right path.

I have heard said that it "takes a village to raise a child," and I get that, but if that foundation isn't set by someone in their lives, it will never be there. Ideally, that person is their mother.

image: myfrienddebbie.com
So, I'm up....thinking over this job I have. What do my children build on? What do I want them to have as their foundation? What are the guiding principles I believe they need? What are the things that I will stop everything else for to correct my children about? I think of respect, personal responsibility, and obedience. These are my tenets. These are the things I need to more actively and consistently teach them. These are the things that I need to continually keep in check in myself and in my children.

I will be honest, I haven't been doing a very good job. I've been lazy and let things slip through the cracks. I've been hoping that some magical lesson in life would teach them, but that's not happening. It really is my responsibility. I can't pass the buck. It belongs to me. But, knowing this and facing it,  I can now do better. Starting today. Just like quitting smoking, even at this point, there will be benefits.

I'm getting too old to be up like this, but I can't stop. That's not what motherhood's about. My commitment is to each of these little people that call me "Mom," or in the middle of the night, "Maaahm." My responsibility is to those who keep me up.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Two Weeks to Go

Someday, after I'm dead and gone, someone just might post all of the posts I haven't published that sit in the background. Let's just say I'm glad I'll be dead and gone. All the juicy stuff is there, folks.

Anyway, I have been big on starting posts and not having time to finish them lately. My goal today is to actually finish a post, so here it is. I'm not sure how long it will be, but there's one thing for sure....it will be full of randomness.

#1 leaves a week from tomorrow. She started the typhoid pills on Saturday morning. She takes them in the morning an hour before breakfast every other day. That's supposed to continue for two weeks, so she'll complete them just a few days before she leaves.

She will fly out Tuesday early afternoon and arrive in SLC. My niece will meet her there and keep her in her care until that next day. I believe she checks into the MTC at noon.

#1 will speak in church on the 16th.

Suddenly I'm wondering where all the time has gone.

I have just decided that instead of having one long post of randomness, I'm going to attempt to write a few smaller ones on one subject.

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