Oct 20, 2018

Learning Languages

I'm processing a lot lately and need to write about it to sort it out a little.

Lately I've had a renewed love for languages.  We have some new friends, the parents of our older friend, that only speak Cebuano, a Filipino dialect.  The Dad speaks more English than the Mom, but they both just speak a little.  He may speak a little better than he lets on, but he's very shy to speak it, and I sadly have a hard time understanding him.  I want to be able to communicate with them--so I've started trying to pick up some Cebuano.  Besides wanting to be able to communicate, I also just want them to know and feel that they are important and people care to get to know them.  Language barriers are a frustrating thing and I don't think I've ever been around people so often, that I am unable to communicate with.

All of these feelings are reminded me that in high school, I felt that I wanted to be fluent in 5 languages in my life, and the equivalent of fluent on 5 instruments.  I haven't worked on those goals, and they never really became actual goals, but I am relearning, that I have a love of languages.....and the people that speak them.  I have a desire to experience different cultures, and to help my children develop a love of people and cultures as well.  I realized yesterday that the love of languages is a gift of the spirit, a version of the gift of tongues.

I feel like it's a complication that I was just getting motivated to start teaching my family Spanish (which I need lots of refreshing on myself) and then this desire to learn Cebuano started growing.  This is my challenge often.  I kind of want to do and learn everything.  I think I just need to move forward with teaching them Spanish and refreshing and studying my own Spanish, while still learning some Cebuano.  It can be done.

I think I was raised to love Spanish.  How could I not love Spanish?  I was born in Arizona, lived in California until I was 10, and then lived in Texas until I was 19.  There was always Spanish around me.  That's a beautiful thing about our country-how much influence there is from Central and South America.  You feel that more when you go somewhere else that doesn't have that influence, like New Zealand. :)

In New Zealand most everyone speaks English.  There's English, some Maori and some Samoan.  Beautiful languages and beautiful people and heritage.

So there we have it.  I need to make a plan to start teaching Spanish to my family.  Part of my motivation is that we sponsor a little boy in Peru.  I want the kids to feel more connected to him.  We get little notes from him and his mom occasionally that they write in Spanish and that get translated to English. 

Aug 24, 2016

Artistic Rumblings

My inner artist has been stirring lately.  Things seem to keep happening that tap her, and now I think it may be to the point that she's being shaken out of a sleep.  I hope she finds a way to wake up, even in the midst of normal life because just her turning in her sleep is pretty refreshing.

First I had to make a family flag for scout camp.  I stressed and stressed over getting it done, but when it came time to work on it, I LOVED doing it and was happy with how it turned out.  I remembered that I like to draw.....a lot.  Creating visual art is fun and fulfilling!  Then AT camp I was able to play guitar and sing a song I wrote.  What was slightly more remarkable was the set up.  All week long we were singing silly cub scout camp songs, well sing-screaming sort of, and after a while that can really get a person out of their shell.  :)  The night I shared my song a lot of that silliness was happening and it really helped to loosen me up--to the point that my nerves weren't too bad, so I wasn't pitchy!  Yea for no pitchiness because there was a time just a couple months ago that my nerves were a little out of control and I couldn't pull my pitch to where I could hear it needed to go.  Crazy, annoying, and disappointing.  Anyway, yea for positive experiences sharing my music!

THEN, AFTER camp there was a Relief Society activity and someone spoke about being ourselves.  Doing what we love and what we want and doing it with confidence WITHOUT comparing ourselves to anyone else.....the little inner artist stirred some more.  Because yes!  I remember!  I love drawing and painting and music and SHARING music, and jamming with friends and doing art projects with my kids and Sanskrit chanting.  Ha!  Random insert, but it's true!  Haven't done that one for a LONG time.  And who cares how it compares to others or what people think if I LOVE it!

This past week, I was super, super inspired.  The family and I headed to the Oregon coast to see Justin's mama and her hubby, and play with cousins.  We've been there several times before, but not for 7 years (because I'm old and I say things like that.) (Oh, and I've been married a long time-lol.)  Anyway, the ocean and the trees and the rivers and the cities on the way----quick rewind-----Boise.  Did you know that in downtown Boise, Idaho all of the electrical boxes have artwork on them?  I love it so much!  Who does that!?  Who knew that Boise was so artsy?  My husband is super wonderful and suggested we take our 6 children (9 and under) to downtown Boise at 9:30 pm for some ice cream and to walk around a little.  I love that we both love the city and the country.  A match made in heaven. ;)

So, back to Oregon, I think the coast is filled with artists because it was definitely filled with galleries.  There were several more that I wanted to go into, but the ones I saw had so much beautiful, fun, colorful, expressive work.  I loved so many pieces so much!  And the crystals!  There were crystals everywhere too, which I also love......and long, flowy skirts made in India.  I wish I had taken pictures of some of the artwork so it could continue to inspire me.  I took my guitar with us to Oregon and got in a little singing and playing AND I got to play an awesome antique organ that you have to pump the feet to get the air through the pipes.  So cool!  At home I keep myself too busy to play much music for shear enjoyment.  Pretty sure something needs to change.

On the drive home I was thinking about that artwork and thinking about what I want to create.  (Part of my daily stress is already trying to creep in and say, how will I ever have time for this?  This is the artist killer.)  So I have a lot of fun ideas that I'll have to play with for some visual art.  I also was really picking out the drum part on a song during the drive and remembering how fun the drums are.  I love drums!  My friend in high school played and I got to play on them a little.  I played on some in Mexico too, at a little restaurant on a road trip with friends when I was in my 20's .  So.....kind of itching to play around on some drums.  Also Justin wants me to learn a few specific songs on the ukulele for fun sing-alongs, so I have a little music assignment there.  :)  That's always good.

Dislclaimer:  The rest of this is pretty self indulgent and is really just meant to get the thoughts out.  You may bore yourself if you continue.

In high school I remember thinking that I wanted to be really proficient on 5 instruments and fluent in 5 languages.  Also in high school I had an easel and I did several pretty time consuming paintings.  I also did more writing.....poetry mostly.  I guess that was my inner lyricist.  

Oh, and just to get another musical goal out there--I want to be better at playing piano by ear.  I want to be able to hear what the chord changes are either in a song or in a song that I'm writing and know where to go.  A lot of times I sort of intuitively know where to go from feeling it or getting lucky, but I want to be able to hear--oh that's a I chord to a V chord or a IV to a V or whatever.  And I want it to become a no brainer after that--at first something I hear and specifically think out in that key and get to that next chord without much hesitation, and eventually just an easy, natural flow between chords because hearing it is EASY and my fingers knowing all the shifts in all the keys is EASY.  That's where I'd like to be.

I want to improve on guitar as well.  For that I just want to start with knowing all of the major and minor chords.  I know the most frequently used major and minor chords right now, but for others I have to pull out my tab book.  

Mostly I want to create.  I want to create music, and share it.  I want to write poems, and stories, and songs.  I want to create drawings and paintings.  I want to read more books and spend more time enjoying my children.  I want to clean less!  I want less stuff!  (Good luck with that one!)  I think I want to do motivational type speaking wrapped up with my music.  And I want to do these things for a purpose.  I want them to glorify God and to help others feel shaken out of a deep sleep, to help others remember who they are and why they are here.  I want to do these things for family, for my kids, to make them feel special and loved.  If mom spends time creating something special for you, I think that means a lot.....especially if that thing expresses that I SEE THEM and know THEM.  

It's time for this part of me to come out again--with confidence.

Jul 7, 2016

Thoughts on The Hiding Place

I just finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom a couple nights ago.  Already I wish this wasn't a library book.  This is one to own, and reread, and mark up, and ponder, and discuss.

My heart desires to be like Corrie's sister, Betsie.  Both sisters are amazing in their bravery and their dedication to follow Christ, putting themselves in extreme danger over and over and over again to follow Him.  Corrie blessed and saved many lives, and then, after Corrie and Betsie were imprisoned by Nazi Germany, they continued to turn to Christ under every condition.  Under months and months of solitary confinement, to a work camp in Germany where they were pushed to and past their physical limits with very little food, sleeping on stacks of flea infested bunk-beds.  Under all of the situations they were put in, they shared the good news.  They shared the gospel.  And Betsie, even while being mocked and prodded because she was on the verge of death from the conditions, had no malice for her captures.  She was sad for them.  She prayed for them.  She prayed for them to know that love is stronger than hate and that Christ died for their sins.

Corrie shared such a powerful story of meeting with one of her jailers years after the war, and praying in the moment for her Savior to help her forgive this man.

"As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened.  From my shoulder, along my arm and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies.  He gives, along with the command, the love itself." (p 231)

Through their unimaginable trials, these women really gained the gift of charity.  It is beyond our mortal capacity, it is not ours.  It is Christ's.  I think about things that I've read that could happen in the last days....that will happen, whether during my life or later....could I love those that bring plagues to our country possibly on purpose, if I see those plagues kill loved ones all around me?  Could I love and pray for people who are putting us under captivity?  Do I pray now for those leaders in our country whose actions and choices I disagree with, or for perpetrators of awful crimes and not only the victims and their families?  Betsie was truly free of judgement.  She saw all people as they are, children of God.  She saw them with His eyes, and loved them.

I love books that make me want to be a better person, that make me think of ways that I can do that.  We don't always know which books those will be, but this is one.  I am so thankful to this woman, Corrie Ten Boom that gave so much to share the wisdom of her lifetime.  What a powerful lifetime it was.

When she would speak publicly later in her life she would use an analogy with a flashlight.  "She would throw the switch, and when the light failed to shine, she exclaimed, 'Is there no light in your life?'  She unscrewed the end of the flashlight.  'Invite Jesus into your life!'  She pushed a heavy battery into the flashlight.  The light failed to shine.  Her audience was startled.  'What's wrong?' she asked, echoing their surprise.  She removed the battery.  'What is this?'  She pulled out a rag.  'Pride!' She pulled out another rag.  'Envy!'  She pulled out another.  'Love of money!'  Finally, she would slide in the battery again.  The flashlight beamed brilliant bright."

Christ wants to teach us. He wants to heal us.  Are we listening?  Are we allowing Him to shape us?  What is He wanting to teach you right now?  Ask Him.

Jun 12, 2016

7 Sons!

I often get responses to my having seven sons like, "Oh!  I'm SO sorry!" or "Are you going to keep trying for a girl?"

 Just yesterday we were having a yard sale and I spoke with a couple that has 9 children.  They were in their late 50's or early 60's.  They said they had 4 boys and 4 girls and felt like there was one more.  Then I told them that I had seven children and that they are all boys.  The husband was genuinely so sad for me!  Now, it IS possible that he has just learned a lot from having girls, and loves his girls so much that he can't imagine what his experience would be without them, and he's just sorry that I don't get that.  Possible and probable.  He went on to say that his girls are so compassionate and thoughtful and that they call him regularly to check up on him, and that boys are good for when you have to move stuff!!  So sad!

So tonight I was pondering on these things.  I love my boys so much.  Of course.  I would never trade one for a girl, and if I had a feeling that I was done having kids, and I DIDN'T have a girl - that would be FINE!  (I have not had that done feeling yet by the way.) The Lord knows me and knows that I get along good with boys.  These boys were probably some of my best friends in heaven and the Lord knew that this was how our special relationships could continue to grow, and that we could continue to enjoy each other and teach each other a lot.  I always have had a lot of guy friends.

Anyway, just venting and pondering on how to respond to people when they say these crazy things to me!   Maybe, my boys are a joy and the Lord really knows me....  Any ideas?

P.S.  Justin loves them too ;)

I have to add to this.  I wrote this a couple months ago, but just the other night someone casually, jokingly suggested that I let one of my children go light themselves on fire during a fireworks show because "I could afford to loose one of them."  What!?  Some things are just not funny, or right, or okay to say.....or think.  Now I know he didn't mean any harm, so I don't really blame him, but it got me thinking.  Yes, I have a lot of children.  So does God.  I am sure that Heavenly Father himself doesn't feel like He can afford to loose one of His children.  Anyway, that's all.  It was helpful for me to ponder on how much Heavenly Father loves each one of us.  People sometimes......geez.

Mar 25, 2016

Reflections on Babies, Anniversaries, and Easter

In three days I will be 40 weeks pregnant with my 6th baby, and 7th son.  Today was Justin and I's 10 year anniversary, and Easter is in two days.  As you can imagine, I've had a few thoughts rolling through my brain.

First off, I can't believe that I've already done this having a baby thing 5 other times!  I've done this before!?  I don't remember EVER feeling SO done, so consistently uncomfortable, and exhausted--especially BEFORE my due date!  This is crazy.  I also can't believe that this might not be the last time!  What!?  May the amnesia of these experiences set in quickly.  With baby one, and possibly baby two and three, I don't think I ever felt done.  I KNOW I didn't with baby one.  I had no idea what people were talking about.  He came 10 days early and weighed 6 lbs 4 oz.  There's definitely a difference in how you feel with how large the baby is!  Here's the run down of my babies thus far:

Joshua--10 days early, 6 lbs 4 oz
16 months later
Austin--4 days early, 8 lbs 6 oz
19 months later
Avin--about 4 days early, 7 lbs 8 oz
25 months later (long right!?)
Jonathan--2-3 days late, 9 lbs 10 oz
20 months later
August--2 days late, 9 lbs
and now--about 2.5 years later
Justin Joseph--????

Today I was feeling kind of depressed and down on myself.....ya know, feeling like this child is never going to be born and I'm going to be super uncomfortable 24/7 for the rest of my life.  I've also had an affirmation going through my mind a lot the past couple days to try to curb the negativity, "I can do hard things."  I was mostly thinking it in preparation for labor, but today I realized that my hard thing right now, is NOT going into labor.  The hard thing now, is trusting in the Lord's timing and being patient.  I pulled out a new little book I bought and played through the song "Gethsemane" that I was going to talk about and sing with the kids later in the morning.  I pretty much cried instantly.  These words are so beautiful and reminded me that Christ went through so much more than what I'm going through.

Jesus climbed the hill
to the garden still.
His steps were heavy and slow.
Love and a prayer
took Him there
to the place only He could go.
Jesus loves me.
So He went willingly
to Gethsemane.
He felt all that was sad,
wicked or bad,
all the pain we would ever know.
While His friends were asleep
He fought to keep
His promise made long ago.
Jesus loves me.
So He went willingly
to Gethsemane.
The hardest thing that ever was done,
the greatest pain that ever was known,
the biggest battle that ever was won,
this was done by Jesus!
The fight was won by Jesus.
Jesus loves me.
So gave his gift to me
in Gethsemane
Jesus loves me.
So He gives His gift to me
from Gethsemane.
“Gethsemane” written by Roger and Melanie Hoffman
Like I mentioned, today was also Justin and I's 10 year anniversary.  That's pretty major!  I have been so occupied with baby, discomfort, and feeling run down, that I literally did nothing for him.  I feel pretty sad and guilty about that.  I am so, so grateful for my husband and the man he is.....not "the diamond deep in the rough of (his) soul," but the man he IS already.  He is my best friend and means everything to me.  He is such a good dad, and is so patient with my crazy end of pregnancy melt downs.  I would marry him again, every day for the rest of my life.  We've created such a beautiful life and family together and I would never wish for anything different or imagine anything better.  And pretty soon, we'll have a new little addition for us, and all of the children to fall in love with all over again.
It seems appropriate at Easter, a time of reflection for all of the blessings that I have in my life because of my Savior, that this new sweet spirit is going to enter our family, and that we're reflecting on the beginning of our marriage and all of the growth, and blessings, and memories that we've had in those 10 years.  
Because Christ suffered, died, and rose again, I can do hard things with great love.  Because He suffered, died, and rose again, I can be with this beautiful family forever, and I can be perfectly supported in all of my trials in that process.  Because Christ suffered for me with great love, I can wait on this child that He's sending, and endure this suffering well, until I can scoop this baby up, overcome with love and joy and the family unity that a new baby always brings.  

Jun 23, 2015

Reflections on Trek

My husband, oldest son, and I had the glorious opportunity to go on a 4 day trek in Wyoming this past week.  In those several days we were able to walk in the footsteps of Mormon pioneers, the Willie and Martin handcart companies for about 22-30 miles. (We were told 22 miles....but if you ask a fit bit, the miles were much higher. ;))

I did not anticipate the emotional challenge I would have adjusting back to regular life upon our return, and I'm hoping to work out some of those feelings by further processing here some of the things I learned on trek.

People are often so different than they seem at first.  Sometimes after being with people for days, you realize that you misread their intentions or motivations early on. They may seem bossy or impatient, or insensitive and harsh, but after some time it is revealed that their intention was always to help in the best way they knew how.  Giving people the benefit of the doubt, and not jumping to conclusions about the emotions they seem to be expressing, is so important.

We had some very differing personalities in our trek family and getting to see how they all tick was so interesting.  I loved seeing their individual strengths be revealed over time.  We had some very strong, willing, DOING boys, quiet, observant, artistic, creative, emotional and nurturing boys. We had some observant, quiet, confident, nurturing, deep, self-less, musical, happy girls.  There were several experiences I could point to that taught me a lot with these kids.  The ability, strength, and willingness to serve and be served.  The beautiful tendency to put others ahead of themselves and the desire to make it as easy on others as possible.  Three out of our five girls had health issues at different times, and we had one of them spend some time in the handcart, being pulled.  Everyone was happy to do it for her, as we all felt so, so bad that she was in pain.  Everyone just wanted to do whatever was needed to lift any piece of the burden possible, and it was no burden at all to those helping.  We came out of this experience loving them all so much.  Our family was just as it should have been, and it was an honor to be there with them.  Thank you guys for singing with me on the trail!

These experiences helped give a little insight into how the pioneers must have felt.  The willingness many had to stand in icy rivers all day, helping others across, doing all they could to lessen the suffering of someone else.  The heart of a father, mother, spouse, or friend, that shared some of their tiny rations, that THEY desperately needed, to help save a life, or not.  The heart of a brother that carried his little brother up Rocky Ridge in a snow storm, alone, with no food, but died after getting his brother there safely.

 I walked into Martin's Cove with my husband, holding my little bag with my ration, 4 oz of flour, thinking of how it didn't feel right for me to have as much as my husband.  Meanwhile, he was looking at his bag and thinking of how he would give it to his hungry child in an instant.  These experiences take you down to the depths of humility and Christlike, self-less love.  They speak to your soul.

This marker is at Rock Creek Hollow in Wyoming.  Thirteen members of the Willie handcart company passed away on the same day, after traveling 15 miles in a snow storm, including the 700 ft ascent of Rocky Ridge.  They were out of food and had to get to Rock Creek Hollow that day, to get to the rescuers and more food.  Nearby, two more are buried; two that helped dig the grave for these 13, then passed away the following day.

What a sacred, and hollowed experience.  These people gave all and had miracle after miracle occur because of their faith in Jesus Christ and his restored gospel.  None of them regretted their sacrifices.  They all were willing to lay down their lives in a just cause for the Lord.  They knew how important temple blessings were, and they gave all for them. 

 What am I doing to sacrifice for the Lord?  What am I doing to make sure that the world is not distracting me from all that really matters?  Am I allowing the Lord to stretch and mold me?  Am I willing to be uncomfortable if necessary, if on the errand of the Lord.  I can't just come home and go on with my normal life like nothing just happened.  Something has changed.  I have changed.

Sep 7, 2014

Bear Lake Part 1

At the end of August
 we had a wonderful little 4 night camping trip in Garden City, Utah by Bear Lake.  That's only about 2.5-3 hours away from our home and once we hit the canyon in Brigham City, it was a GORGEOUS drive.  Here's Johnny (and August's legs) at our first little gas station break.  (Yes, with 6 children you need a break in that short of a drive.  WE do at least.)

Here are some of my cute boys coming out of the gas station.  I thought it was so
cute how they were holding hands.
Then right as I'm admiring their cuteness, they turn around....a little weird
 Turns out Justin was prompted to help out a guy on a bike with a little dinero...
That's just the kind of sweet, in tune guy I married ;)

 A little further down the road Joshua remembered he had brought a Kid Bop CD for us to all listen to.
We probably heard it all the way through 3-4 times.  It was pretty fun, happy music and it was 
so cute how excited he was about his good idea to bring it.


Handsome hubby

Potty break.  That's right....AFTER one potty break already, all of the children (who are not in diapers) decided they had to go on the
side of the road.  Avin's urgency started the whole event.

 Yea!!!!  There's the lake!  

I'm not the greatest at taking tons of pictures, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found I HAD taken a few pictures of camp.  

Joshua, Austin, and Jayden slept in a 3 man tent next to the large family tent.  Austin
and Jayden were knocked out.

The early birds out by the morning fire.

Johnny 5 still sleeping soundly in the big tent.  We had Justin and I on an air mattress, the pack and play for August, and Jonathan and Avin on the other side.  It was so fun to be sleeping in the tent again!  It had been awhile, since we got a pop up tent trailer last year.  This time, we tented it because we were pulling the boat behind the suburban.