Monday, October 25, 2010

Out of Sorts

I haven't been myself lately. That's a funny thing to say, because who else can I be, but it's true. Probably not since the miscarriage. Or even before that, because then I was sick and pregnant, which are never very happy things for me.

Miscarriage sucks. Or I guess more accurately is that not having a baby when you want one sucks. It messes with your head. And I really don't like that at all. I think I was very spoiled to believe it would always happen just like I wanted it to. I feel like I have a teeny teeny tiny glimpse of what some people must go through when they can't conceive.

A good friend of mine lost her mom recently. Very suddenly and all sorts of complex emotions. My uncle also passed away this last weekend. Not someone I was particularly close to, but a very very good man. One of those men you could feel was good just by being around him. He leaves behind a young wife and three young kids, and I believe four older kids from a previous marriage. Why do things like this happen? The sheer sadness of it is a little overwhelming. Travis lost his dad when he was only sixteen. His dad was only 48. The youngest brother was 9 at the time. It seems so cruel, and yet at the same time, I know there is a reason. Same as I know there was a reason this baby I wanted so badly didn't come.

My mother in law is leaving on a mission next Monday. She is truly a great woman. I am so blessed to have the in-laws I do. They have accepted me and made me feel like one of them, which isn't always a good thing because they're mostly crazy. But I do adore my mother in law. I will miss her like crazy, as will my kids. I think it's finally setting in. But I'm so proud of her.

Tonight Travis came home for about half an hour in between work and his classes when I didn't expect him. I had had a pretty lame day up until that point. Lame as in I laid on the couch until 10:30, got ready, got Emory off to school, put Bowen down for a nap and laid back down on my bed. I finally got my head together about the time Travis got home. We sat together for about twenty minutes while he ate and we talked. Have I ever mentioned how much I really truly like my husband? Something about him just makes everything seem better. Then he left. I made dinner for the kids and started to straighten up. Jaxon looked at me and said "You're the best mom any kid could ask for". And really? I know I'm not the best mom in the world, but to him I am. That's all I care about.

I walked around my house and thought about so many things that make me happy. About how content and at peace I feel in my home. And I was thankful that for a few minutes, I felt truly uplifted. That's one thing I am learning from this experience. That when I feel good, I need to sit and savor the feeling, even if it's only for thirty seconds. Because it will go, but it will come back again for longer. So I'm trying, once again, to live in the moment. To cry when I want to (which seems to be a lot lately) and to feel happy when I feel happy.

I'm thankful that even when there is much sadness around me, the blessings I have still out number the trials by a huge amount. Now if I can just figure out how to not let the sadness become my focus.

They're a little homely sometimes, but they're mine.

The camera comes out and all he wants to say is cheese. Isn't it awesome how he tickles himself when you ask to see his belly? I love little quirks like that.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Who Needs All This Heavy Stuff When You Have Cute Kids?

Okay, so school pictures are lame-o. And my kids super suck at getting their picture taken. But I absolutely LOVE these. Doesn't she look so sweet? Goofball smile and my nose for sure, but she's so cute. And I love how his eyes light up when he smiles. Having kids in school is so fun.

So you gotta pay close attention to this one. The kids have been drawing us pictures lately. Then they hide them and we have to find them. It's really fun until they tape something under their bed or some other random place like that and they won't tell us where. Since they got some fun stamps from their Uncle Bito and Aunt Micole, they have taken to drawing pictures themed around the ocean. Look at this closely for a minute.Notice the ocean animals in the water. Notice the dolphins jumping out of the water. Now what's that green thing that looks like a human? And why is it all red? Oh, that's right. It's because that person is being EATEN BY A SHARK!

These are the love notes our kids give us. Do you think some weird things must go on in our house?

Forgive Me For Being Wordy

I've been wasting a lot of time lately reading blogs, and getting involved in debates. I wanted to write down some of my thoughts on the gay marriage debate and President Packer's recent conference talk. I'm going to do my best to be open.

I'll be honest. When I first heard President Packer speak about this topic (which wasn't even the topic of his talk), I cringed inside. Because, let's face it. He doesn't come across as the most compassionate of the apostles. But I do sustain him as a prophet, seer and revelator. So his words to me, are the same as if they come from God himself. Which, I believe, they do.

The pornography and sexual addiction part of his talk spoke to me. As a person who has seen the devastating effects that sexual sin and pornography can have not only on a person, but on a family, I need to hear things like that. I need to hear it addressed by the church, and I need for people to know that there is help out there. I think our generation is so different than our parent's generation. I think we talk much more openly and address problems so much more effectively. I feel like the church is attacking pornography head on, and while I know that the war will never fully be won until Christ comes again, I am encouraged and believe with ALL MY HEART that prayers are answered and temptations are overcome. That the war CAN be won on an individual basis.

Now we come to the two minutes of a seventeen minute talk that I struggle with. That is the focus of debate all over the world. That seems to have spurred hatred towards us by the same people who are accusing us of being hateful.

I struggled with it. I didn't vote on Prop 8. Because, duh, I live in Utah. I didn't give any money to the campaign. And I asked myself if the same thing were to happen in Utah, how would I handle it?

The answer was that I didn't know. I honestly didn't know. I believe my leaders are inspired of God. I believe what they tell me. I also, heaven forbid, see the point of view of the other side.

I do not believe we are motivated by hatred. I do not believe any of our leaders, or Christ himself, would want us to hate people. I do not believe that our voting against gay marriage means that we hate gay people. What? Where does that logic come from? In fact, I believe that if any person who is homosexual were to spend even a few minutes with one of our church leaders, they would feel nothing but love from them. They would leave that meeting knowing they are loved, and probably understanding even where we are coming from. Bummer that our leaders aren't more accessible to things like that.

I do not understand why African Americans were denied the priesthood for so long, and then things were changed. Travis believes that at the time, it was hard enough to be attacked for your skin color and for being a Mormon. Why tack on one more thing for people to come after you about? That makes sense, but maybe I don't understand exactly. I don't necessarily believe that I am supposed to.

Because if I understood everything perfectly, this life would not require any FAITH of me. And that is such an integral part of the gospel, and of who I am as a person. Faith causes me to rely on God, and to receive answers from him. I would not have a personal relationship with him if I didn't have to have faith. In fact, I'd think I was doing pretty well on my own. People who disagree will call this a cop-out. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But I also would say that I didn't see why it couldn't be the other way too. So what did I do? I thought about it, I educated myself, and I PRAYED nightly that I would have the answer I needed and that I could accept. And I did all this knowing that President Packer is an apostle of God. But that I also have a right to answers and revelation for myself.

I spoke with one of my most favorite people in the world, who I won't name here, but I will share something she said without asking her. I'm tacky like that.

"What it comes down to with me is that I know that the leaders of the church know WAY more than me and have a foresight I do not have. I will ALWAYS do what they say, even if deep down I disagree at the time. They have the keys to prophecies, I do not. I think it's a trial of faith for me, but the more the controversy goes on, the more I see why the church is doing what it has done. It has to stand up and make a very clear statement that we are for marriage as defined by one man and one woman."

I understood this. In my heart it settled me. I may not understand now why it has to be this way, but I absolutely trust that my leaders do. And that is part of faith and obedience. Following not blindly, but UNTIL I receive the answer myself.

So I prayed. And I read and read all the bullet points in the world about how we are hateful and mean-spirited. And it hurt me. Some things made me physically recoil from the computer. I was in a dark place for a few days. But I'm proud of myself. Because I really thought hard about it. About how I felt as a member of the church and a human being. Because this may be the first serious issue I've struggled with, that I have questioned my Heavenly Father and received the answers I needed. Because, really? Don't smoke, drink, do drugs, or have sex outside of marriage? That comes across as pretty much common sense to me. But reconciling love for everyone with a message that the world viewed differently? It was hard. And I felt like a bad member of the church.

I believe in democracy. And the bottom line is, the majority always makes the decisions. I don't believe in universal health care. Some would argue that is a civil right for everyone. But the MAJORITY of politicians did. And they were elected by the MAJORITY of Americans. That is just how it works here. So I will continue to disagree, but also accept that a choice has been made. And I do have the right to continue to fight and voice my opinion. As do all Americans. But Mormons do not make up 52% of the voting public in California. That's a fact. I think we are an easy scapegoat for many Americans who feel uneasy about a topic. And you know what I say? Bring it on. We are strong enough. It will never be a popular standpoint. One thing I learned in high school is that I don't need to be popular. It doesn't get you very far. I need to feel good about my standing with my Heavenly Father, and at the end of the day? I do. And no one can change that. And whether you try to drown out my voice with love or with hate, you're still drowning out my voice.

And maybe right now, gay marriage doesn't directly threaten my marriage. I do believe it will open the door for things that may threaten my marriage and my family, which my gospel teaches is the core of everything. I do believe there are gay members of the church who believe in eternal families, who may want to be sealed to their partner forever, and that may one day turn into a super awesome Supreme Court ruling that threatens my religion. I believe that my leaders are aware of what COULD happen, and will fight tooth and nail for anything that hurts the family.

I also believe that some straight people should not be able to marry and procreate:).

There are many mean Mormons out there. I bet there are times where I have even been one of them. But there are lots of mean people in the world. I hope that I am not judged by every mean woman, or mean white person, or mean short person, or mean person who changes her hair color monthly. I am different than all of these.

At the end of the day, I want to love people more. I want to know more gay people. I want them to feel love from me, and know that I want them to be happy. I also want them to respect my feelings and decisions. I want to help kids who are bullied at school. Because in seventh grade, I was real small, and this big girl used to push me and say she wanted to beat me up, and it was super scary. I don't mean to make light of a serious situation, because I do know how that feels. I absolutely want my children to meet people who are different. To love everyone. And I live in a society where they aren't presented with the opportunity to do that very often. So I hope they learn from my example. And I hope that's always a good example. I'm working on that.

Bottom line is I am thankful for a religion that has leaders who speak to God directly. I'm thankful for a religion that I know is true. I'm thankful I have been blessed with opportunities to gain that testimony, even though they were hard and not so fun. I'm thankful that I am encouraged to receive the answer for myself, and that if my feelings differ from what I'm taught, that people will still love me. And I'm thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who has calmed my heart on this and many other scary topics.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My Perfect Niece

I stole a picture from her mother. Really? How could you not think these children are perfect? You should go over to her blog and check out all the pictures of the other kids holding her and loving her. She might be the cutest baby I've ever seen.