Monday, March 30, 2009

Thank you



Art imitates life

Or at least a comic strip does.

I feel like this all. the. time.


Thank you for your support on our latest drama. Guess what . . . NDN apologized this morning for being a jerk. Will things change though, when he's around the other guys? That remains to be seen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An artist with an unusual medium

"Bryce, remember when you gave that empty pickle jar to Mary? Well, look."

"I actually just wanted to see what she would do with it," Bryce admitted.

I think she's trying to grow a bouncy ball.

And what about this fascinating little collection of Lego steering wheels in water?

I really can't imagine what it all means.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Down by the station, early in the morning

Last Saturday Bryce had to work and Tyce was at Scout camp. I needed a break from sibling squabbles and chore supervision, you know? Besides, it was a beautiful spring day--perfect for getting out of the house.

Remember when I said we wanted to ride the train in Boulder City?

We did it.

Well, those of us who were available.

Mary, Cameron, Harrison, and I got there just in time for the scheduled departure. All aboard! The kids were really excited to ride a real train . . .

. . . with a real conductor.

They spent most of the time hanging out the window, making me nervous.

But they had a great time figuring out what was up ahead. (This is my favorite picture.)

Yes, to get this shot I am practically hanging out the window myself.
The train was a pretty slow-moving and the ride wasn't very thrilling, to be honest, but it was a lovely way to spend a chunk of Saturday.

Harrison said, "I knew what a train would be like because of Jon and Eight Plus Kate."

Thank goodness for reality TV.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Pigeons, Pets, and Patron Saints

Part 1.

Earlier this week Mary went chasing after the ice cream man, much to my annoyance. But she didn't return with a Popsicle--she returned with a pigeon.

"Mom! Quick! Call the police! I've caught a pigeon with a broken wing!"

"Ack! Don't bring it in the house! Put it down! Wash your hands!" I cry, equally panicked.

O Patron Saint of Injured Fowl, help me.

Part 2.

"Mom, isn't she adorable? I've named her Wenzie. I just love the way she bobs her head around. I think she likes it in this Rubbermaid I found in the closet."

"In MY closet?"

"No in the playroom closet. Look, I used one of your towels for her bedding, and have these different bowls for food and water. I hope I can keep her forever. Mom, can I keep her?"

Finally, my opportunity to recite one of those little poems floating around in my head has arrived.

"If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it was meant to be."

(This couplet also came in handy during my dating years.)

She is not deterred.

"So I can keep her, right? At least until she's better."

I am weak. I don't agree, but I don't disagree.

"She's a wild bird though, and she wants to be free," I say. "It will be a happy day when she's well enough to be on her own."

"Yeah, I know," she concedes. "I'd just like to be there when it happens."

Part 3.

"Cameron! Harrison! The school bus is here!"



"We let her out for a minute and then she started walking really fast and we chased her but we couldn't catch her and she ran out of the back yard and THERE SHE GOES! GO GET HER!"

I help the boys get their backpacks on. They climb the bus steps.

"Okay, I'll do my best!" I say with a parting wave. "Have a great day!"

The bus pulls away.

Wenzie changes course and waddles up the driveway, bobbing her head back and forth. I stare at her.

"Go play with your cousin," I command, gesturing down the street.

She stares back at me.

I'm sorry, but I just can't bring myself to pick up a pigeon.

Part 4.

"MOM, WENZIE'S GONE!" Mary wails as she comes through the sliding glass door.

I hug her close to me as she sobs. "I know, Mare. But we should be happy, because now she's free."

"I think the twins dumped her out," she accuses.

"Why would you say that?"

"Because everything was tipped over," she says.

"Well, I don't know about that, but you should feel proud about how well you took care of her while she was with us."

"I loved her, Mom."

"I know you did, Mare."

Suddenly her face brightens.

"So am I responsible enough to get a pet?"

Part 5.

"Mare, you have to make sure you keep the sliding glass door closed, because guess what was in our kitchen last night."


"A scorpion," I reveal.

"Where is it now?" she asks.

"Well, Dad killed it," I say, expecting a sigh of relief.

"What?! Why did you do that? I could have kept it! Why didn't you just let it outside?"

"Because it's a SCORPION, Mare. Scorpions can kill you."

"Not all of them. But that's their defense against predators so they can't help it. Mom, why did you DO that?"

"Okay, I'm not going to have a discussion on Scorpion Rights with you. Just keep the door closed."

"Ugh. Fine."

O Patron Saint of Parents Who Don't Want Pets, save me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Respect for the Sacred

My sophomore year of high school in San Antonio, Texas, a small group of boys made my life uncomfortable. They thought they were very clever for their anti-Mormon taunts, and took delight in picking on me (and the few other LDS kids) for our beliefs.

One day in Latin class one of the boys clumsily asked, "Hey, Becky, how's John Smith?"

Confused, I said, "John Smith? Isn't that the most common name in the United States? Maybe you should open the phone book and call one of the 2000 John Smiths to find out."

He looked flustered and said, "You know. The JOHN SMITH that's your Mormon leader? Gold plates and all that?"

"Ohhhh," I said. "You mean Joseph Smith. Yeah, he's great. He's dead, of course. But thanks for asking."

But things didn't always go that smoothly.

One day I entered the Language Arts wing to discover that my Student Council campaign posters had been defaced with the hastily scrawled RICH MORMON B---- all over. That really, really hurt me. I was embarrassed to be the target. I pulled my posters off the wall and asked my English teacher for some white out, trying to control my tears as I attempted to erase the epithet. But the damage was done. There was nothing I could do to save them and I had to throw those few away.

(But guess what. I won.)

Another day, someone passed me a tiny comic book in Band class. I started to read and realized it was an anti-Mormon tract about two incompetent missionaries who get tripped up on simple Bible questions and begin to doubt their faith. I looked back at those boys, knowing then they were the ones who passed it to me, and they snickered and laughed to see my reaction.

I can't explain it, but I felt punched in the gut.

I ran to the bathroom, locked myself in a stall, and sobbed my eyes out.

Later that night I asked my dad what I should do . . . I was angry and I wanted to DO something. But my dad wisely counseled me to let it roll off my back. He read this scripture to me:

Matthew 18:6

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

And you know what . . . he was right.

I certainly didn't wish anyone to be drowned in the depth of the sea, but I gained quiet confidence in my conviction.

I became stronger as I ignored them. They became weaker as their feeble jabs lost their intended effect.

Eventually, they left me alone.

Why do I mention this? Two words.


The writers of the show are really no more sophisticated or educated about their mockery than my high school tormentors were.

Figuratively, they're sitting at the back of the room, snickering as they call out, "Hey, YOU, put on any weird clothes in the temple lately?"

It doesn't hurt me.

They can show their version of a temple ceremony, something I hold dear, and it doesn't hurt me.

Why? Because blaspheming the sacred doesn't change the sacred.

The temple is still God's house. The saving ordinances performed there--coupled with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ--are still essential for eternal life, and the work will go forth regardless.

This is the deepest conviction of my heart.

It can be paraded for the masses in the name of free speech. It can be sensationalized in the name of exposing the truth. It can be mocked in the name of retaliation. But make no mistake--the beautiful work performed in the temple will not be stopped.

Joseph Smith declared:

"The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldy, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."

And I say AMEN to that.

In the meantime, I'm taking my dad's advice again.

Let it go.


I realize that there are many who believe differently than I do. I respect that.

If you'd like to know more about why Mormons build temples, you can find out here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another catch-all post

I am having the hardest time writing this, which is not a good omen since I have a Sesame Street deadline due tomorrow. It's like in one way, I want to tell you everything that happened over the week, in detail, because I'm SURE you'll find it fascinating. But then when I try to write I think, sheesh, this is going to take forever.

So I'm going with the headlines and highlights edition.

You can thank me later.

1. Youth Conference. I delegated to the other leaders chaperoning responsibilities, so I didn't attend the whole thing. This was good and bad. Good because I wasn't over-scheduled, but bad because I missed some good stuff.

Friday night there was a speaker, John Michael Stuart, who by all reports was inspiring and amazing. The youth seemed to just love him. I was sorry I missed it. But I got to be there on Saturday for the service project and the games, which was a lot of fun. I wore the conference-issued boxy lime-green shirt and an orange lei for my participation, which pretty much secures my place in the "What Not to Wear" line up.

That night there was a rockin' dance, which I missed. But then Sunday . . . well, I'll tell you about that.

Alex Boye is my new BFF. I was prepared for a straight-laced fireside but I was straight-up wrong. I laughed so hard my sides hurt; Tyce laughed so hard he was crying. You know how Tyce has that awesome laugh. Alex is certainly a performer--I just didn't know he was also a comedian. His message was about music and its effect on us, and some parts were serious and spiritual. His most powerful spiritual messages were delivered through his own singing about the Savior. Oh, but his stories in between . . . man. He sure knows how to bring the house down.

I think his style was able to touch the hearts of some young people who might not otherwise have responded to a traditional message. It was one of those events where you wish everyone you knew could have--or would have--attended. I was glad Tyce went.

2. The ice cream man. I hate him.

Okay, I strongly dislike him.

There should be a law that states:

Vehicles vending frozen dairy products and/or frozen sugar-water products must operate in a three-month period designated as SUMMER, the period between June 21st and September 21st of the calendar year. Exceptions to SUMMER may be granted per the homeowners' association's rules to include select major holidays, including Memorial Day and National Wheeled Nuisance Vehicles Day.

Vehicles must limit trolling to once a week for a 20-minute period. Vehicles caught trolling daily and employing illegal siren songs that only children and dogs respond to such as "It's a Small World" shall be reported. Any Vehicle Operator who rewards a child under the age of 7 a mercy gift of a gummy hamburger when three pennies and a rock are offered as payment shall be reported.

If parental denial of Vehicle Operator's wares causes any person under the age of 18 crying, tantruming, vomiting, or seizure, Vehicle Operator will prohibited from selling in that neighborhood.

You hear me, ice cream man? I'm bringing you down.

3. I was too quick to pronounce myself healed from sickness last week. It was completely uncool to have the flu after I'd suffered through The Plague.

4. Well, that's about it. I'd better get back to work before the kids come home.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Individual Worth

This is a beautiful, empowering thought I have been pondering.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

--Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural address (written by Marianne Williamson)

Do you ever feel less than you could be? I know I do. It's human nature to listen to those voices in your head or on the TV that say you're not good enough.

But I AM good enough. YOU are good enough.

Who are we not to be?

One of my favorite quotes of all time on this subject is this one by C. S. Lewis.

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.

Who knows us better than our Heavenly Father, who created us? We lived with him before we came to earth. We lived with Him before we were born. He counseled us, He taught us, He loved us. We chose to follow His Plan, presented by His beloved Son, and so we came to earth. He sent us here, knowing what trials we would need to face, what tests we had to endure, what paths we would have to navigate to return home to Him. Our holy elder brother, Jesus Christ, offered Himself as a sacrifice to overcome sin and death. Only through His atonement can we return home to be live with our heavenly parents, and attain eternal life.

We are created in the image of the most divinely powerful, infinitely loving, talented, intellectual, and wise Being imaginable.

By virtue of that alone, we are special; designed to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous.

Who are we not to be?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Little League Opening Night

When we found our places in the stands at Morrell Park, I kind of felt nostalgic for the five years Tyce played baseball. He made a lot of good friends and enjoyed playing the game. Bryce loved coaching and I loved watching. But it was that last year he played when the twins were 2 and hated their strollers, and Mary--who had no interest in the game--was all over the place . . . well that year nearly did me in when it comes to sports.

But that is neither here nor there.

Tyce was asked to sing the National Anthem at Opening Night, a capella.

He did a great job.

Afterwards he came to sit with me.

And entertained himself by taking pictures of himself.

I have video but it's only for half of the song, AND . . . I forgot to turn the camera off after he finished singing. I am not technologically challenged most of the time but I sure acted that way last night.

I'll see what I can do about that, and maybe you'll get to hear it for yourself.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Same sign, different meaning.

Harrison: Mom, look at me. I can do this.

Me: Cool! Did you learn how to say "I love you" in sign language at school?

Harrison: No . . .

Me: Did you learn it in Primary?

Harrison: No . . .

Me: Well, anyway, I love you too! (I do the sign back.)

Harrison: (Looking confused) So Spiderman makes the "I love you" sign when he spins his web?

Me: Hmm, I guess he kind of does.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Beginnings

Or, my lesson in Delegation.

Remember my angst when things fell through and how heart-sick I was at the thought of burdening people at the last minute when it came to planning the program?

Well, maybe you don't because I took that hyper-emotional post down.

I didn't even want to organize what needed to be delegated. That was the basic idea to a long, tear-stained entry. But I had to, and I did.

Fast forward to last night.

I have the most wonderful, giving, talented leaders to serve with. Libbie and Christina did the refreshments, Shela arranged the musical number, Rachel assigned the value talks AND did all the decorations, Cindy gave the opening prayer, and Tomica printed the program. All of our Young Women participated by giving talks, singing, playing the piano, or leading the music.

Besides overseeing the different areas, all I did was give a little talk at the end about practical matters such as the calendar and requirements for the new Personal Progress value, Virtue.

It was a beautiful night.

I am truly at loss for words at the gratitude I feel for our leaders' willingness to serve and follow through with their assignments to the fullest.

(Rachel, I gave you more than anyone else and you handled it with grace. You are amazing.)

I loved hearing the girls speak, loved listening to the trio sing "What Heaven Sees in You". We truly have special, beautiful young women.

I am blessed to serve them.

I am blessed to have amazing, inspiring, capable leaders to work with.

I can't help but feel gushy and superlative in my praise of the women who taught me two important lessons:

1) People don't mind being asked to do things, even at the last minute, when other plans fall through; and

2) Doing everything myself would have denied very talented leaders the opportunity to make our program as wonderful as it was.

And that is my testimony of delegation.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The saddest sight ever

The Plague hit our house. Did it hit you? My whole family was KOed with runny noses, hacking coughs, sore throats, and other don't-get-close-to-me symptoms. The twins, who haven't napped for well over a year, took an afternoon siesta every day for two weeks.

The poor guys just couldn't make it through a whole day.

One afternoon, Harrison fell asleep in the bathtub while Cameron channeled Michael Phelps going for the gold.

I put my poor sleeping sickie to bed.

(Will it surprise you that he popped up two minutes later, energized until nearly midnight?)

Thank goodness The Plague has done its damage and is on its way out. My sympathy and goodwill run out at about 9:00 at night.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm an Aunt again!

Her name is Evangeline. She was born February 28th, 2009.

Doesn't she look like an angel? That's what my brother calls her--his little angel. Evangeline's big sisters were in the OC for their cousin Charlotte's baby blessing, so baby is having some alone time with her mom and dad.

I know Cambria and Maya will just smother that little girl with kisses and hugs tomorrow!

I am so happy for Dave and Brooklyn. They have brought another beautiful daughter into the world.

I am so fortunate to have the best of both worlds when it comes to family.

Not only do I get to parent four beautiful children who look nothing like me, I get to be an aunt to little girls who do.

Thank you, girls. You have satisfied my curiosity and filled my heart with love.