Monday, September 6, 2010

What's every mom's favorite color?

Why, it's SCHOOL BUS YELLOW, of course!

School starts tomorrow. Wow, summer went fast! This is the first year in 15 that I will be alone at home. Weird. 5 are in school full-time, and my youngest is in preschool for 3 hours, twice a week. How much can I get done in that amount of time? Ready, set, go!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I recently made a very big mistake. I said something inappropriate that ended up offending a large number of people, and I am just sick about it. When I said it, I didn't think it was as harmful as it turned out to be. I was trying to be funny, but unfortunately, it was at someone else's expense. Ultimately, it was determined that I am judgmental, mean and bitter, and I completely ruined a wonderful evening for a lot of people.


I found out about my blunder in a less than tactful way, from someone whom I considered a friend, and I felt gutted.

Ouch again.

What I am sick about is that I have fueled the insecurity of others and caused them to question themselves unnecessarily.

For the last three days I have had a lot of time to think about my actions and words, and what they have said about me. I thought I had moved past so much gobbledeegook. I thought I had given up gossip for good. I thought I was mature. I thought that I had lived my life in such a way that others would wonder why I am so happy and feel compelled to ask me about it, giving me a chance to share what I believe. I thought I was showing that I am trying to live a Christlike life.

Apparently not.

I was showing that I am judgmental, mean, bitter--and catty to boot.

Granted, those who know me well were not offended by my comment, and they have provided the most wonderful support and kind words of encouragement. I have amazing friends and family who can see past my imperfections and forgive me my shortcomings. Thank heavens.

I have learned a few things.

Everyone makes mistakes, and I have learned that they come in different forms. Sometimes they are deliberate. Sometimes not. Sometimes they are big, and sometimes they are small. Sometimes they are mistakes of omission and forgetfulness. Sometimes they are honest. Sometimes they are selfish. Sometimes they are harmless and funny, and sometimes they are terribly hurtful. I know I have fallen prey to making each and every kind of mistake on this list.

I've learned not to judge someone's character by one little action. People do mean things when they are hurt.

My job then is to be kind and give others the benefit of the doubt. I must not take offense so quickly. I must be more forgiving of others when they make mistakes, no matter what kind, and even if they are hurtful to me. I must give others an unimpeded path toward repentance and change, just in case they are ever inclined to do so. It doesn't mean I don't protect myself or my family, or take measures to prevent harmful influences from entering my life, and it doesn't mean that I shouldn't set boundaries and standards for proper behavior. What it means is that my heart should be wiped clean of guile and malice toward others and be filled instead with love.

There is a great story in the Book of Mormon about a military captain named Moroni, who wrote a letter to his political leader named Pahoran. They were in the middle of a great and destructive war, and Moroni was very upset that he had not received the support he needed from Pahoran. He wrote a justifiably angry letter, demanding to know why the soldiers and food had not been sent. He let Pahoran know that if the needs weren't met, he would take matters into his own hands. Here's where Pahoran becomes my hero...He explains to Moroni that he had to flee his own land for his safety, because there was an uprising within his own people. And then he says this, "And now, in your epistle you have acensured me, but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice in the greatness of your heart. I, Pahoran, do not bseek for power, save only to retain my judgment-seat that I may preserve the rights and the liberty of my people. My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us cfree." In other words, he doesn't allow the misunderstanding to go any further, and he shows a greater measure of love. It's mercy at its finest. He also solves the problem directly. This story has helped me maintain perspective many, many times. (If you want to read the whole story, go here.)

It is ever so important to go directly to the person who has made the mistake so it can be resolved in the most respectful way possible. Often, we have no idea we've blundered or hurt others' feelings, so it does no good to gossip or assume that the person will someday get it.

Lastly, I am grateful for do-overs. God has provided a way for us to do-over any mistake we've made. That's right, I said ANY mistake. He has also provided a way for us to be healed from the mistakes of others. That way is the Savior, Jesus Christ. We can lay our sins, mistakes, blunders, faux pas and shortcomings at His feet, and He will remove them and strengthen us enough to overcome them. We can also lay our pains caused from others' sins, mistakes, blunders, faux pas and shortcomings at His feet, and He will remove them from our hearts and fill in the holes to heal us. We just need to ask, and listen (and do) when He answers.

I promise to keep my feet on the floor, instead of in my mouth, but if I should happen to fall on my face again, will you please forgive me? Thanks in advance.

I'll end with another gem from my favorite quote lady, Marjorie Pay Hinckley:
"Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to the Future 1

Julienne, Katie, Dori, me

Amber, Dori, me

I just got home from traveling back in time. It was the loveliest trip. (Actually, according to my own definition, it was a vacation.) First I went to Colorado to see four college roommates, who somehow managed to settle there, independent of one another. Two of them live across the freeway from each other and didn't even know it. Then I went to my high school reunion. More on that later...

We ate and talked and ate and talked and ate and talked some more.

I wish I could describe how full my heart was (and still is) with joy at seeing these friends. They are the kind of women who, even after several years of not seeing each other, can pick up right where we left off. They are the kind of women who help me see just how much good there is in the world--the kind of women who inspire me to be a better mom, friend, wife and woman. Each of you should have at least one of these women for a neighbor. Seriously.

For example: Katie has an 11-year-old daughter who has autism. Up until a couple of years ago, this beautiful girl could not speak, and she has never slept through the night. Katie also has a son who is 18 months older than her daughter, so my guess is that she hasn't had a full night's sleep since around 1996. Her daughter also had a terrible sensory reaction to food last year, and consequently got frighteningly ill. Through it all, Katie has maintained an attitude that I can only hope to attain for myself. She truly sees this child through God's eyes, and she considers it a privilege to be entrusted with one of His special children, while maintaining an appropriate level of sass and style.

Julienne has lived all over the world, as her husband is in the Army Band. She is smart, strong and beautiful (yes, she really does look like Buttercup in The Princess Bride), and has a crazy trivia memory like mine. Who else can remember all of my siblings' names in order (7 of us), as well as the parents of a kid I went to high school with--Izzy and Pinky Lifshitz? (yes, really) We have been fortunate to have lived close to each other a few times in our married lives, and I count her as one of my closest friends. She recently got a roundabout shout-out on cjane's blog and didn't even know it.

Amber is wild and crazy and so much fun. She writes her own blog and a few years ago started Mile High Mama's--a mom's interactive resource section in the Denver Post. She, too, has traveled the world, mostly living by Murphy's Law. Her husband is attempting to grow a real-life Great Pumpkin. In 1993, when I called her to tell her I was engaged, I said, "Guess what I'm doing?" She answered with, "Watching 90210?" It was Wednesday night, after all.

Dori is the kind of person everyone should have in her life. She is smart, funny, stylish, beautiful, kind, silly, generous, and every other superlative you can imagine. She was my very first college roommate, and I couldn't have asked for better. She is someone who would rearrange everything in her life to help me, and I would do the same for her. She married a great guy who makes her laugh every day. The only downside is that she is not my next door neighbor. Darnit.

See? I told you. I love these women because they knew me in what I call my Past Life (before children), when I was allowed to be silly, and each of them has been critical to my growth as a person. My heart was full to bursting, spending time with these amazing friends. The Lord really does wonderful things with His women. Thank you, my friends. I sure do love you.

P.S. Thanks to my husband and oldest kids for holding down the fort!