Learning to Swim

Learning to swim… For me it was literal at one point in time. I learned how to swim in a very harsh way. I was literally thrown into the deep end of the pool. My moms boyfriend at the time was showing off and thought it would be funny to throw the 5 year old girl (me) in the deep end. I think, maybe, he thought I might be able to swim better than I was capable, or maybe he was a jerk (she wasn’t with him for long so that seems like a likely reason).

I remember the day clearly… I was happy at the pool. I was hanging out with the friends, and I was enjoying a nice sunny day. As I was walking around the pool this yahoo (the boyfriend) came up from behind me and just threw me in the deep end of the pool. I was so scared because I couldn’t touch the bottom, and I didn’t have time to hold my nose (that sacred me because my nose burned from the chlorine). I didn’t know how I was going to get back to the top of the water, and then I started to panic.

Somehow I made it above the water, I didn’t know what I was doing or how I managed. I know now I was being watched over by a loving Heavenly Father. I believe without a shadow of a doubt He helped me in a very bad situation. On the outside of the pool my mom was getting ready to jump in and save me, but she didn’t have to because I was being helped from a higher power.

This has been a common theme throughout my life. I have frequently been “thrown into the deep” end due to others misdeeds. While it is exhausting, and I hate it, my loving Father in Heaven has always been there to help me get back to the surface. Learning to trust Him, and realize I don’t have to always rely on my own strengths is a huge relief for me. I know He can do more than I ever could, and I know He will help me when I feel like I’m drowning.

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Differing Points of View

Isn’t it funny how we can go through an experience (the same as others), but our view of things can be totally different?! I always find that interesting, and I love to hear others perspectives.

My older brother went into the Army straight out of high school. He was there during the Gulf War. During that time I was young, we are talking 5 or 6 years-old, but I remember some things. The few things I remember are first and foremost my mom crying- A LOT! I remember being scared because WAR is a big word. I remember worrying that I would never see my brother again, when I felt like I didn’t know him at all.

As an adult I understand things a lot better, and more differently, than I did as a child. War is still a scary word, but it seems to surround us constantly. I am thankful my brother was kept safe and made it home alive. I have been able to know my brother, and develop a close relationship with him.

Now, as I look at that time, I’m thankful I didn’t have as many worries as I’m sure the adults did at the time. I do wish I could have had a little more understanding of what was going on. I’m sure those who are older than I am remember that time differently and that’s how life works. I would love to sit down and hear others perspective of this time in our history.

A Little Advice

A Piece of Advice

“I believe the family to be the basic and most important unit of society.

The greatest joys of life are experienced in happy family relationships. The most poignant of sorrows, the most bleak and forlorn feelings of misery come of unhappy family life.” -Gordon B. Hinckley (August, 1992)

As I was growing up my home life made it as such that there was not much stability living with my mom. It caused a lot of stress, and I wondered what life would have been like to live in a stable home with two parents, siblings running around, and a feeling of security surrounding me. When I became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I felt like I belonged and I was where I was meant to be. One of the most important pieces of advice that I received was how important the family unit is to our society.

In my humble opinion I truly believe with my whole heart that so many problems in society could be better if there were more stable family homes in our society. Now I am not so dense to think that all of our problems in this day and age are due to instability in the home life, I just feel that a lot of problems could be eased if children were growing up in a stable home. How much more at ease would we feel ourselves if we knew that at the end of the day, and no matter what craziness is going on in the world around us, we were going to go home to a loving family?

As this advice from Gordon B. Hinckley states, bleak and forlorn feelings come from an unhappy family life. I don’t feel that having family at home will fix all problems, but it sure helps to have a family. I know for me personally I love going home to my husband and kids and knowing that they love me regardless of how things are going. It brings me such comfort, and a sense of belonging in a world that seems to be in constant turmoil. This is not to say that my life has always been hunky-dory, I have been through a long divorce and have felt the pain and loneliness that accompanies such an event.

Having said this I do believe that the greatest joys truly do come from happy family life, and I am thankful to have a family. Even through the good and the bad times family is what matters most in this life.

Life’ s Little Moments

My grandparents are some of the most amazing people I have ever known. My goal is to be a culmination of all four of their most positive traits. I truly just want them to be proud of me. My mother’s parents died when I was about 10, I wish I would have known them better.My father’s parents are still alive, but my grandfather is dying slowly from Alzheimer’s disease. My paternal grandmother is still very much alive and feisty, we are still very close to this day. We have many long and thoughtful chats.

Some of my most cherished memories of my childhood are from when I would visit my grandparents. They would have me up for a week or two at a time. My grandfather and I would wake up early and go get donuts from this wonderful shop. My grandma made this coffee cake that is divine (I still request it every year for my birthday). We would go for walks along the beach at Lake Michigan, and bike rides in their neighborhood.

Spending time with them made me feel normal, and grounded. I always dreaded going home to my moms house. I will forever be grateful for the time I had with my grandparents, and for the reprieve I was able to enjoy from my depressing reality.

Even though my grandfather isn’t himself, I will cherish my memories with him forever. I think this is why so many people tout the sentiment that making memories is more important than making money. Those memories stick around a lot longer than any amount of money. Life goes on, and the memories remain.

Life’s Little Disappointments

The many disappointments in life. I know I have had my fair share in this life. Some happen due to the agency of others, while other times it is due to our own choices (I hate those times so much-why can’t I just be perfect?!) Other times disappointments come about because of things entirely outside of our control. That’s my focus today.

Let me tell you a story that is just oh so common in my life. the theme, place, and time may change, but the story is the same a lot of the time. I love the Fourth of July! I love this country and the freedoms we enjoy. I am proud to be an American. I also love the on the 4th we as a people are celebrating our great nations birth!

My ideal 4th of July consists of cooking out, fireworks, and time with family and friends. As I have mentioned before-life doesn’t always measure up with MY ideals. This particular 4th I am referring to was just one disappointment after another. Plans with family fell through on all fronts. The weather wasn’t cooperating, it was rainy and cloudy most of the day. My oldest son was in his “I don’t want to be around my lame family” mood. Our van had its mirror busted out. It was all around a rotten day, and certainly not ideal! So I cried… A lot! I didn’t want to deal with a crummy day, I was basically having a temper tantrum similar to a 2 year-old inside.

 

My husband did so much to make the day better. The kids tried too, which was so sweet of them. In the end though it was on me to decide how to change my frame of thinking. It took a lot of tough love from myself, and a lot of self talk, to make me realize I didn’t need to make things worse with my bad attitude. I’m almost positive that I’ll fail at moments like these again, but I’ll keep trying to do better. I think that’s just a part of life, but it goes on-upward and onward!

 

 

 

Life’s Lessons

Growing up I lived in a tumultuous home environment, so when I moved out I tried to avoid contention at all costs. Then I started trying to be a people pleaser because I desperately wanted others to like me. As you can assume it ended up with just me being walked all over. I started to become resentful of this, as you can imagine, after this happening for more than a few years. Then a moment came that I treasure because it taught me something about myself, it was the moment I learned I can stand up for myself.

A lady I had been serving with in my church was walking all over me and not allowing me to do the things I was delegated to do. She felt I was too young, and not able to handle the job I was given. One day I had had enough, so I called this lady and gave her a piece of my mind. I stood up for myself, and I let her know I was taking charge of my responsibilities. Now being somewhat young I now realize I could have handled the situation with a little more tact. I don’t regret standing up for myself because I learned that doing so was up to me. I learned that standing up for myself is necessary at times, in the right way of course. I feel in a way that doing so goes along with having self respect for ourselves enough to help others, but leaving enough to care for ourselves as well. Balance in all things!

The First but Not The Last…

It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last that I felt totally out numbered in my house. The number of males in my house is always at a much greater amount compared to the females. I have 5 boys, and a husband… Now growing up I lived mostly as an only child with my mom. I have an older brother that didn’t live with us. I have a younger brother that lived with my dad and stepmom. then I was blessed with 5 boys before having a little girl!

The testosterone levels in my house can be staggering at times. I am reminded almost daily that I still don’t understand boys fully. I remember the first scuffle, the one first but not the last. I was even able to get a picture of it because it was a cute kind of funny. My oldest son was about 5, the second oldest was about 3 and the third oldest was about 18 months old at them time. My first born had just gotten brand new, light up shoes. Of course his little brother (the 3 year old) thought they were the bees knees, and he wanted to try them on. My oldest did the natural thing that a child his age would do and he threw a fit about his new shoes being on the wrong feet; he then took the shoes back. My second son cried of course, distraught at being treated in such an awful way. The picture I was able to capture of this shows a very angry 5 year-old, a crying 3 year-old, and a baby in the background completely oblivious to the chaos. The memory still makes me chuckle. The boys love hearing the story, and they laugh about it now.

The disagreements are about more “important” things now-such as clothes, and electronics these days. I still don’t understand those arguments and some of my boys are as tall as I am. Even though I am still severely outnumbered with all these boys, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I am grateful I have the opportunity to raise these boys into fine young men. I’m also thankful for all they have taught me, and the love they give me in their rough and tumble way.

 

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Opening Line

Different Place and Time

Do you ever feel like you don’t belong in this day and age? I frequently feel like I was born about 40-45 years too late! I feel like the 50’s would have been a much better fit for my lifestyle and personality. How I yearn for the simpler days, and higher standards in society. The clothing, entertainment, music, and pretty much everything else appeals to me. The thing I long for mot is how much less “connected” everyone was, and yet families seemed more family-centered.

I realize I may be romanticizing this period of time, and I’m completely fine with that! It can be difficult sometimes to feel like I’m keeping up with all things when I truly long for simpler times. Finding that balance is key, and staying true to ones own self of course too.