Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I have been frequenting Facebook as of late, finding many past acquaintances from all the places I've lived. As I've exchanged messages with them through Facebook, I've found that there are so many people I could have shared good friendships with while I was among them, but I didn't. I was too busy trying to be popular and fit in with the "in" crowd.

I think it was my senior year of high school when I figured out that it's not how many friends you have and how popular you are, but what kind of friends they are. I actually had some pretty great friends my senior year. There were some people in past years that I didn't share valuable friendships with because the "in" crowd had somehow deemed them less than worthy. Sure, I was nice to them (I don't think I was ever blatantly mean to anyone), but I never really built a friendship. I was too focused on fitting in with the popular kids.

It's sort of sad that some of us tend to do that. We want acceptance and to be valued by those who often have a powerful influence on others (the "popular" or "in" crowd). Yet we don't always realize that many other people could give us friendships that would be more valuable to us. We have more in common with them, or they simply treat us better and therefore make a better friend.

Not everyone has done this or does this still, I realize that, but I have often fallen into this trap. I have even fallen into this trap in my college years (trying to be better pals with certain, more "popular" roommates than the ones that would have made better friends, etc.) and even beyond college (trying to always be friends with the people who seem to be "popular"). I don't know why that mentality captures me time and time again. Maybe I just want acceptance, but being accepted by the people who truly love me doesn't seem to cut it. I don't know. All I know is that I'm sorry I missed out on some great friendships in the past. I'm trying to remedy some of that now, but I guess the ultimate ideal would be to somehow transform into a person who doesn't need that "in" crowd acceptance, someone who can just enjoy the friendships she has rather than always wonting for more. Consider it a lesson learned (however failing the application of it may be).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Getting Things Done

Each day is so much work at staying afloat that I often feel very overwhelmed. So overwhelmed, in fact, that some days all I can do is sit there not doing anything. I often feel like Goldie Hawn's character in the movie Overboard, the part where she is sitting on the couch after her first day of being alone with the four boys, and she is staring off into space while they throw grapes at her, saying, "bah, bah, bah," over and over again.

The thing that leaves me feeling overwhelmed is usually just thinking of all the things I need to or want to do each day. When I sit down and make a list, sometimes I get so discouraged looking at the length of it that my body seems to shut down and I can't seem to do anything at all!

Now, I have a small defect in my personality, and that is being a perfectionist. More like an idealistic perfectionist, where I want things to meet up to my expectations of how I think things should be and if they fall short, I beat myself up about it.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about. I want to really get down and spend good quality time with my kids. I think my family spends way too much time in front of the television or computer and we should spend more quality time together. My sister-in-law gave me a book called The Preschooler's Busy Book. I've looked at it and some of the ideas are great! However, the majority of suggested activities require certain supplies, which I don't already have on hand and would need to collect. I compile a list of what I need, based on the suggestions in the book, and realize how much money I would need to spend to get these items together. Since I'm one who can't seem to start a project without having everything in order first, doing the activities that I have supplies for and gathering the rest of the supplies as I go is simply not an option for me. No matter how hard I try to break away from that tendency, I am never successful.

My list includes things like going through toys and "organizing" them (freecycling what I don't want and better organizing the rest into plastic bins), finding a better system for storing and cycling clothes that are off-season or too big/too small for the kids, cleaning out my dresser of clothes I will not likely wear again or clothes that are off-season, starting a filing system for the visual aids and activities we've made for our primary class that could be used for Family Home Evening, making behavior charts and chore charts for the kids, going through food storage and better planning each week's shopping list. The list goes on and on to include more worthwhile free time pursuits, like reading good books, exercising, and writing or scrapbooking, or doing a better job at keeping our side of the house clean.

Whenever my husband is home from work and doesn't have homework to do, he asks me if there's anything that can be done. Honey, there's always something that can be done! Always something more worthwhile to do than watch TV or frequent blogs and other websites (my weakness!). I think I need to come up with some sort of schedule to control how I spend my time. It's just very difficult for me to even be motivated to do it, even though I stress out about not doing it. Like I said, I have high expectations for myself and am constantly beating myself up for not meeting them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Coming Back into the Light

"My Rose-Colored Glasses

I am missing my rose-colored glasses
They fell off somewhere back there
and I can't find them anywhere
It's hard to see with the dark ones on.

I've found my rose-colored glasses
But I don't want to put them on
Wearing the dark ones
Gave an excuse to not see the light."
----July 1999

That is a poem I wrote between my junior and senior years at BYU. There is a whole back story to the poem, of course, but I have to admit, I'm not really wanting to delve into that here. All I can say is that sometimes, we want to wallow in self-pity for a while.

These past few years have been particularly hard for me when it comes to certain issues. Finances haven't been exactly ideal, children poorly spaced has been an issue for me as well. On Thursday night, I went to a stake relief society enrichment with my mom. The speaker talked about how life is like a train ride and most of it is over rocky terrain, but once in a while, we get to a mountain peak and are fortunate to be able to see a beautiful view, or vista and to enjoy the vistas. I thought to myself, "I can't remember the last time I felt like I was enjoying a vista!" I felt like I've been on that train ride through a really long dark tunnel for the last few years.

But the rest of the night, she talked about how we need to get back into the basics--scripture reading, prayer, and just keeping the faith--in order to arrive at a vista. If we aren't doing those things, then surely the vistas will be less often. After considerable thought, I realized that I could definitely do better in those areas. While I try to maintain some sort of routine with it, I'm nowhere near 100%. I can always blame that on having two babies in two years, but, really, in the final judgment when Heavenly Father asks why I stopped being 100% on my personal prayer and scripture study, if I say, "Because you sent me two babies in two years!", I don't think He'll really understand. If anything, He'll say, "That's exactly why I sent you two babies in two years, you weren't talking to me enough!"

So, that very night, I went home, opened my scriptures and read the chapter that the woman suggested that we read: Alma 5. Can I just say that it was like this balm just washing over me? It was wonderful! And the other thing I realized that night at the Enrichment was that I have not been listening to music very much lately. On occasion, I play it in my car, but usually not anything really uplifting and spiritual. The speaker had arranged four musical numbers that were so uplifting and just soothed my rumpled spirit. Let me tell you--getting to that RS Enrichment on Thursday night was one really rocky ride--the kids were TERRIBLE right before I was supposed to leave and I was SO NOT feeling like attending anything churchy, but I knew I was too upset to sit in that house any longer and only went for the sake of leaving the house.

So, on Friday morning, I put on some nice LDS inspirational music that I haven't listened to in a really long time, and it helped calm me. I committed to reading my scriptures each day and being more earnest in my prayers, and even having family scripture reading and prayer each day. So far so good. Of course, it's only been since Thursday, but now I can keep doing it.

I am really excited about "coming back into the light." I feel like I've been in darkness so long, the light seems very warm and comforting. I like it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Preservation of Femininity

I realize this is backward thinking and goes against feminism, yada, yada, yada, but I just don't think women belong in combat, or many other parts of the armed services. Nurses, yes, perhaps other behind-the-scenes type work, but in the front lines fighting in war zones (or driving the Humvees), no. First, it is contrary to the very inherent nature of a woman to be a warrior. Not that women can't do it or don't have the capabilities, but just that women are better cut out for other roles. Second, when a unit is taken hostage and a woman is in it, what do you think her captors will do to her that they most likely won't do to the men? Yep, the big ugly "R" word. Those are just a few reasons I have for this opinion.

Along those lines, I don't think that women should play harsh contact sports (think rugby, football, wrestling, etc.) either. Not that we can't, but that we shouldn't. Now you're probably thinking that I'm some prissy and somewhat wimpy girl, but I am not that either. I can throw a football as good or even better than a lot of guys. I can also shoot a basket and hit a baseball to rival the ability of some guys. Growing up, I liked climbing trees and playing outside with my brothers. I just think that women are better at other sports and better-equipped for duties outside of combat and war zones. It's not that she can't do these things, but that she shouldn't.

Let's preserve a little femininity at least. Just because we are as capable as men in just about everything doesn't mean we have to become them!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Best Years

Whenever we have a family outing that includes all four children, we get a lot of comments, especially from the elderly. One such time, we were eating lunch at a buffet restaurant, and an elderly gentleman came over and asked the ages of our children. We told him that the oldest was 4-1/2, then 3, then just over 1, then the new baby, who was 2 months at the time. He smiled and said, "Enjoy this age. It's the best time and it doesn't last very long."

On many occasions, when I hear something similar, I am usually in the midst of a moment of stress with the boys running wild and the baby crying, and I feel like it's all I can do not to run screaming down the street. This happened to be one of those days. Although they were well-behaved during lunch, it had been a hectic morning, and I was ready to call it quits. When this old man, whom I am sure meant well, said this, I just wanted to burst into tears, screaming, "You mean it gets WORSE than this???"

But at the same time, I fully understand and appreciate what the old man was talking about. They are only little and innocent like this for a few short years and we need to enjoy them. Enjoy the smiles, the kisses, the laughter, the pitter-patter of little feet running into the kitchen for breakfast, the sheer excitement of seeing a ladybug or being able to play with cars. As slowly as each day seems to pass for me, I also notice that time is flying by. My oldest will start kindergarten in a few months, and though I am looking forward to this transition, I can't help but feel that these fleeting free days of childhood will be behind him. Although his childhood isn't over, from August of this year on, he will be strapped with homework and a more structured schedule than these preschool and toddler years have given him.

And yet, as much as I am trying to cherish these tender moments, I also feel so guilty that I don't enjoy them more, that there are times when I want to hide under my pillow and cry because I don't want to face the day, that there are days when I wish I could rewind my life to the time before I had kids. Every time I feel like that, I also feel guilty for feeling like that. I know I need to enjoy them while they are young because it doesn't last very long, but sometimes (the potty training, the night waking, the constant fighting, etc.) I really just don't enjoy them.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Beauty and Aging

I have come to the conclusion that external beauty really does fade with age. Most of us do not age gracefully, and those of us that do, probably have work done to assist in that process (this is not based on any research, however).

I am not aging gracefully. Granted, I am only 30 years old, but there are some who are at their beauty peak in their thirties and often their forties and fifties now. I am not. I believe that my outward beauty peaked at about 25 and has gone downhill since then. I am getting gradually uglier. Unless I have plastic surgery to change completely certain features of my face, this process will continue until I am a very ugly old woman.

But true beauty doesn't fade--that is the beauty that is within us all. If you were to take a group of pictures of octogenarians and look at them only for external beauty, you probably wouldn't find it based on today's standards of beauty. They have lines, wrinkles, saggy skin, spotty skin sometimes, and gray or white hair (or no hair!). The women tend to wear very little, if any, makeup, and if they do, it is often overpowering. If you judged their beauty based solely on outward appearance, you would probably conclude that they were not beautiful.

As we age, though, we gain wisdom and experience. These experiences shape lives, for better or worse (we hope better), and help us develop characteristics such as grace, compassion, love, charity, selflessness, and understanding, to name a few. These characteristics are what enhance our beauty. And so, you take someone who is in their 80s or 90s and throw in these inward expressions of beauty and come to find some of the most beautiful people.

It's too bad that the world places so much emphasis on outward beauty. Outward beauty will never be retained infinitely in our physical lifetime. That is because the body ages, and there is little we can do to stop this process. We can slow it and extend it, and change certain aspects of it to reflect younger days, but in the end, we will all age.

But the soul is ageless. It lives forever and continues to grow and gain wisdom and experience, which enhance our internal beauty.

When I look in a mirror, all I can say is, thank goodness for that!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Who I Am

Now that I've finally realized my true purpose in life--that of a mother, I have yet to find myself. Not in the way that the world wants you to "find yourself" (by throwing home, family and rules out the window and doing whatever you want), but just that since having kids, I can't quite put a finger on who I am apart from my kids anymore.

Yesterday, the three younger kids were sleeping, DH and the oldest were out getting haircuts (technically, the oldest didn't get his hair cut, but that's another story altogether), and I was sitting on the couch thinking that I ought to be doing something constructive, but I couldn't think of anything to do.

This seems to be my problem a lot lately. All the things that used to interest me (scrapbooking, journaling, writing, reading, singing/playing guitar or piano, hobbies I used to have) I just don't have the will to do anymore. So when I do get a free moment to myself, I just sit there. It's like I've lost part of myself and I can't seem to get it back--I don't even want to try. Am I just too tired from the stress of child-rearing, or is there something wrong with me?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Yes, I am guilty of letting the T.V. babysit the kids. I have to admit this to ease my guilt (somehow confessions help ease it, I don't know why). I have had more than my fair share of days where I let the kids watch T.V. practically all day. However, I only let them watch PBS, which, I feel, has the most educational and worthwhile shows for kids, or a DVD from our substantial collection.

I've read the research about how T.V. isn't good for young children. I was raised in a home where we didn't watch a lot of T.V. growing up. We spent way more time playing outside than watching television. But I can't help myself, with 4 kids under 5, I sometimes don't have the energy to do anything more. Letting them play outside takes great effort for me because I have to check on them constantly or they do things they shouldn't. And when I let them play inside, they sometimes get way too rambunctious.

So I need to do better, I admit it, but please tell me I'm not alone! I hope not! I try to fill their time with more worthwhile activities, but some days, I let the T.V. take over. I confess!


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