Grant me patience
to deal with my

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Infinite Power of Hope

Christmas, for me, was a reflection of this past year for my little family. It was a year for change. In January of 2009, I felt, if it can be said, very Happy. My home was my haven, and I spent day after day making memories with my children. We were surrounded by loved ones and our lives were filled with so much laughter...oh, the best kind of laughter...when you finally manage to stop...everyone just smiles at one another and you just feel so very, very content. I felt that I was finally becoming the mother I had always dreamed about. I played in the green grass of the parks and got dirty along with my little ones. Walks in the stroller, trips to the library, crafts and baking cookies. Mornings were filled with yummy hugs and kisses...oh, lots and lots of kisses! Amid all the bedtime tantrums, runny noses, washing mouths out with soap occasionally, spills all over the table and kitchen floor, broken cups, scrubbing sinks and that wretched bathtub, the endless sweeping and just felt good. I would go to bed at night and just think about what the next day would bring, dream about Russ finishing school, think of house hunting and painting walls with color and filling up empty rooms to make our future home...our future haven wrapped around us like the softest and biggest blanket!

And then the change happened.

And it has been amazing and heart crushing...and everything in between.

In a youngest half-brother came to live with us. There is no doubt how perfect the timing was...that, indeed, the Lord had His hand in Ben's coming to our home. So many of us felt as if we witnessed a answer to so many prayers. And yet the journey, so far, has been for me, as my own personal pioneer trek. I built my life from scratch...worked hard to cultivate my dreams and wishes and desires. And then I felt like I had to leave it all behind to travel the dusty trails, rocky mountains, barren deserts.....searching for our place where we would belong. We are still walking, and walking, and walking....still searching.

Along the way, our family has faced many obstacles. Too many to write. It was as if each trial, each frustration, every disappointment, and hours of discouragement piled themselves upon my shoulders. So heavy was my burden. But, it seemed, that they were all my "cross" to carry...and so I slowly plodded along....step by weary step.

It felt like I was asked to do something I could never my little brother. Repair the damage that had been done, correct the wrongs, and make whole again his spirit.

But everyday, I felt lost. Everyday I wondered where to lay the to solve so many problems, and if I was doing the right thing. And the days went by...

And I kept trying to live my life the normal way it used to be, to keep baking and smiling and laughing. Some days I almost forgot about the burden upon my shoulders, but so many moments, so many nights, so many minutes alone in the hot shower, oh how I cried.....and cried. I felt as if I put my life, my dreams, on repair the damage my own mother had done...once her family.

And then came the anger, raw and red and hot. And the bitterness....and I clenched my fists and tightened my jaw and I wanted to scream at Heaven for all my pain and suffering. Everyday I spent with my children, I knew I had to share that with Ben...and I didn't want to. He brought back the painful memories of my mother, and I wasn't ready to face her. Not only did I feel abandoned by my own mother so many years ago, but I felt completely shattered by my last memories of her....a sunken image of what she used to be in my early childhood. My mother, who was soft and round and smelled of perfume....she had light in her eyes....she held my hand through the grocery store....and she loved me. Her drug addiction robbed her of her compassion, gentleness...of all her motherly attributes. She became cold and hard...with dark eyes sunken too deep...shadowed...thin and bony. And she couldn't love me anymore. And her cruel, hard, mean vulgarities she screamed at words can describe such betrayal of the heart.

I had to see her the last day of court, when she finally showed up. She looked empty inside. She agreed not to contest the guardianship Russ and I were asking for. All she wanted was to be able to see Ben until she got her life back in order. She agreed to take a drug test, and then we would schedule a supervised visit.

Months went by. She called....asked....when could she see Ben? The answer was always the same. Drug test. And then the manipulation began. Every struggle I faced with her made me all the more bitter. I wanted to lash out at the innocent family members around me. But for all of God's goodness, He brought me through the worst of my anger and on to the beginnings of healing. I realized that for so many years of my life, I ran away from my problems and never faced them. I kept them buried deep down inside, and with Ben coming to stay with us, they all slowly resurfaced. I knew that they had to be faced and dealt with.

For awhile, I let myself feel alone, I tried to carry the burden myself, and all those actions achieved for me was sadness. Once I learned to start talking to Russ, my sisters, grandparents, family....telling them my fears, all my hurts and dissappointments....the burden became lighter.

My life has faced much change this year, and i have fought a lot of it, and I am trying to accept the changes now...little by little. I have a long ways to go, and the future is unsure, but what I must remember when I am down is that, of all things, I must not lose hope.

It is late...and I must end for now. Maybe I will write some more another day....but we must remember that there is always hope. My Christmas this year brought for me the beginnings of hope.

Infinite Power of Hope

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh what a busy day!

Getting ready for Christmas you must first:

Wake Up!!! Routine in our home goes like this: Wake up, cuddle on the couch with blankets and a "dwink pweeze!" while watching cartoons. Once the morning "grumpies" wear's breakfast time!

Second, all lovely women must:

Pamper...Primp....there....all nice and Pretty!

While waiting for the women, The Boys:

Hang out in thier pajamas....and play...

And play some more...

*Not pictured:
Tantrums when trains are put away until Bubba gets his teeth brushed
A little corner sitting for various things as:
Being sassy
throwing, dumping,smacking...just a few unfavorable verbs belonging to a two-year old...
A little arguing for more various things as:
not listening when asked to clean up the mess that YOU made, not me!
A little convincing for a girl full of attitude who CAN clean up a mess, even when her legs just up and "magically" stop working...arms too tired...and her bum feels tingly!
A little wrestling with:
Carter... in lock-down... while mom brushes his teeth after 5 minutes of him just EATING the toothpaste!
And a little patience...PLEASE...for:
Crying because one child just sat in some little girl's spot! rude!
Jumping off the arms of the couch and almost meeting certain doom and destruction...

And now...

All ready to run a "few" errands!
And it only took us ALL morning to get to this point!


Gotta have some quality reading time with aunt "Hay-hay"

really....he's just trying to delay his nap-time...

Great way to delay!


Of course...Christmas wouldn't be the same without some FUN in the SNOW!


It was cold...and the kids did cry a time or two...


Anna screamed her first time down the hill...
Laughed and smiled all the way down the second time...
and swore she was "NEVER donna doe sleddin ever adain in my whole life!" after daddy sent her down half the hill all by herself!

 Carter had fun sledding with whoever would take him,
enjoyed being pulled around in the snow on the sled,
but failed to mention that his hands and feet were FROZEN!
that would explain the crying All The Way Home
while saying, "Owee! Owee! Owee!"


Ben just went crazy...snowboarding and sledding...he would have stayed for hours...



First time down was a little scary....
and yes....I screamed all the way down!
But it was AWESOME!


The pink hat happens to be his FAVORITE! I think he looks very adorable...even in pink!!


 Haylee getting ready for the thrill of her life....don't be fooled by her smile here folks...inside...she was trembling with FEAR!!!

Once we returned home, everyone cuddled on the couch to warm up frozen toes and noses and fingers while we watched "The Polar Express" and even had hot chocolate during the "Hot Chocolate" song!

I know...I can be quite amazing...

*a yummy variation to your cup of cocoa: warm up a cup with half chocolate milk, half milk or water. Then add your cocoa mix...and when it's nice and frothy, add a bit of creamer....I added a bit of Irish Cream!

Of course, with a mom like me....
there always has to be a craft involved!


I found these cute crafts at Porter's and they were only $1.00! Yeah...I can get pretty excited over a buck! But seriously....who doesn't love a bargain???


We just used a bit of hot glue....

hot glue is very....HOT!
And it burns....and can leave blisters!

...don't worry, only the adults operated the glue gun.

...I have the blisters to prove it... cute!

We decided to start a tradition this year.
The kids got to open one present on Christmas Eve!


Every year, from now on, we decided to give them each a new ornament and Christmas pajamas!



The ornaments this year were all snowmen! The kids loved them and proudly put them on the tree!


Time for bed!!!
It was one very BUSY day!


...and we promptly nestled all our chillins in bed...


I would have plopped right down on the couch...

but my bum was a little sore...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Flowers, Halloween, Birthday, Home-made Pizza, and a funny story!

 Just had to show off my flowers I received from Russ and Anna!
We enjoyed the beauty and brightness they brought to our home for two weeks!
Yay! Happy Halloween! Carter: bumble bee, Ben: pirate skeleton, Anna: bat girl.

 Great FUN...until the flu set in the next day!

Carter, Anna getting ready to go bowling at The Rex for Ben's 10th Birthday Party.
 Rylei...striking a pose...very cool with the hand in the pocket...really...

 Ben opening a few of his presents. He seriously LOVED all of them!
 Happy Birthday Benny! This kid truly makes our lives quite interesting!
Best Buds....for life....we hope!
Carli Meredith, Ben Wayment, Carson Meredith

 It was a GREAT...thumb-sucking day!
 Saturday evening we gave Ben his snowboard!! He's been waiting for it for forever it seems!

Sunday dinner: Home-made pizza!
We baked it on a pizza stone, I made the crust extra thick, and it was...
Well...what would've made it more perfect was less olives and lots of tomatoes!

Scrumptious....and toddler approved....very important!
 Cheers to the BEST cook EVER!!!
I know....I sure am loved....but seriously, who wouldn't love a mom who makes such delicious dinners?

Funny Story of the week:

*Sigh* BOYS! If you have a should know EXACTLY what such a statement means...

After dinner this evening, I put Carter in the bath. The kid loves bath-time! If I let him, which often I do, he would play for an hour! As I sat on the toilet watching my little Bubba play, he started "swimming" in the tub. This consists of laying on his tummy and moving his body with his hands back and forth, meanwhile, plunging his face into the water, pulling it back out...gasping..rubbing eyes...then.making eye contact with me, smiling and then saying once again, "Watch dis mom!" And then the process starts all over again! It keeps me quite entertained!

Well, after a minute or so of doing this, I notice Bubba's expression... Something has changed. As he turns onto his side, I realize that the back and forth swimming motion has...uh hmm...stimulated his little "twig".

(with a little clap of the hands) How Wonderful!

Bub makes a noise of curiosity...then tries to push it back in with his finger! Just doesn't seem to be working...most likely having an opposite effect indeed! This seems to turn the curiosity notch up just a little....ok....a lot! As he pulls on skin I am sure not made to be stretched to such degrees...and looks to be quite painful...I decide that I have finally seen enough and ask him to please stop. As I am doing so, he grabs his little unit in his fist, and yes, making a loud "Pcckewoo!" shoots his "gun" at a nearby weeble wobble trying desperately to bobble away!

Quickly, I covered my mouth to stop the laughter and turned away...if a two-year old knows he's being funny....yup....chances are, he'll do it again! Violent shootings with body parts are on my list of "Not-to-do's"!

You know...I've always wondered why men are so enthralled with macho guns and studly action-packed movies...

My son has enlightened me...

Thanks kid!

*sigh...once again...* BOYS!

Just tryin to stick with the brightly packaged plastic squirt guns now...thank you very much!

*read this story while you will most likely be posted for a limited time!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

oh...I am feeling a new post coming on....

My sister-in-law Jenny sent me a "message" on Facebook. It is a video from YouTube, and they got it from "mormon messages", "What are YOU thankful for?" I loved it so much, I watched it two times in a row, hands under my chin and smiling the whole way through! I think that wasn't enough and feel like I need to watch it again! As I was watching the video, my mind started turning....and, oh yes, I could feel the beginnings of a post coming to surface! You know you are a true blogger when you have experiences like this! So, here I go...

I LOVE to be inspired. I do. I adore inspirational movies, quotes, thoughts, commercials, programs, music, and people. I live from day to day seeking some form of inspiration. I NEED it...I THRIVE on it. Yup.

This coming Thursday, all of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving. For the last few weeks, fellow bloggers have posted many messages of what they are grateful or thankful for. I have been holding out...because I still have not managed posting Halloween pictures yet. And then our family put up the Christmas tree and the nativity set. I also cooked some 40 of the most DELICIOUS oatmeal which I ate the majority....very true. I have sent many lengthy messages on Facebook back and forth with my cousin Hannah too, which in the process, I have come closer to her and she has lifted me up. I spend too many minutes wishing I had my own sewing machine so I can make fun and adorable things for my house and kids. I stay up too late, and sleep in longer than is really necessary. And I have found an addiction to needing music, just certain songs, and I like to listen to them over and over.! I finally got pre-school going with Anna, and I enjoy every minute of reading to Carter...mostly because I wondered if he would EVER be interested in books! Oh, he is!

I was thinking today...How often do I think about where another person has come from? Will we ever really understand or fully appreciate the people around us and what their life means to them, and to the rest of us? I went visiting teahing last week. One beautifully pregnant woman I visit told us she is a recent convert to the church. Hmm, what does that mean to her, and what could that mean to me? I found out my companion has seen a counselor since she was a young adult. She told me she would never be the person she was if it wasn't for her counselors. She is so valiant and has a firm faith in Christ. With one sister we visited, as she shared her simple thoughts with us, my heart burned with the witness of the Holy Ghost. Will she ever know what those simple words meant to me? There is so much that makes up a person and who that person is and who that person will continue to become. But, upon our first meeting, all we see is the color of their eyes, how their hair is done, what clothes they are wearing, if they have kids, a dog, or whether they put up the Christmas tree before or after Thanksgiving.

The wonder of humanity is that...a person...sharing small peices of their lives...with another...bridges the gap we feel in this world at times of sorrow, sadness, feeling alone, guilt, self doubt, fear, hardship....and something amazing happens....we connect with one another, sometimes for but a moment...and we catch a glimpse of something deeper inside that person's heart and soul....and what they share might erase our own fear for something, uplift our hearts, make us smile, enlighten our mind, or give us a sense of comfort or assurance. We leave feeling....yes, INSPIRED. And doesn't seem so bad...and many times life feels indeed, like a blessing you wouldn't trade for anything.

Can I share some "pieces" of my life with you?

Two weeks ago, I was feeling very alone. All of the hurt and anger, fears, anxieties, and shadows I have been running away from because of my all came crashing back down on me. My little brother, Ben, has been with us for almost eight months now. He is a daily reminder to me that I actually DO have a mother. A mother who missed my engagement and blissful wedding with Russ, the birth of my beautiful children, my first day of college, high school track meets, the day I placed in the 800 meter in the Idaho State track meet, she missed seminary graduation, the works of art I created, there have been no phone calls where I need advice and she gives it to me freely, no moments of laughter, or smiles...

Just emptiness. And I filled that emptiness with all that I could. I lived each day and moment of my life knowing that I would never become what my own mother became to me...just a memory filled with pain.

With every dissappointment she threw at me, I turned around and filled it with something good. I moved on...and she just became the woman who gave birth to me...that's all.

Well...the past eight months, my mom's presence has been an unwelcome guest in my mind and in my life. She brings with her too much hurt and anger and questions of "Why?" And I finally decided that I could no longer "run" from her anymore. I had to face her, finally, or else I could never be able to fully embrace life and move on. And so as I was feeling very alone recently, I reached out to my family members, and asked, or more pleaded with them, to offer up their prayers in behalf of our family and the hardships we are currently facing with our guardianship of Ben.

I am not alone. So silly that I could ever feel that way. I feel I have experienced a common miracle in the responses we received. I sit here, and am AMAZED at the outpouring of strength, love, support, peace, guidance, understanding, and inspiration we have been given because loving members of our family were willing to pray for us. Never in my life, have I felt a love that has consummed my being to such a level, that I felt as if I could almost feel the unseen angels filling me up with pieces from Heaven.

What am I thankful for?

I am thankful that I am not alone. This world moves so fast that we, at times, forget to stand still, and listen to the wind blowing through the trees, the patter of the rain on our rooftops, the crunch of our shoes over the new-fallen snow, or hear the pure joy found in a child's laughter or appreciate the twinkle found in a smile. Each breath we take, that fills our lungs...the breath of life that keeps us ALIVE...could never be without the loving hands of a Father in Heaven who created all things on Earth. The wind and the rain and the glitter of snow outside my window helps remind me the He is there and that LIFE was created in this world because of LOVE. And when I can push the rest of the world away and all of its frivolous man-made counterfits for happiness, joy, peace, security.....when I push that all away and close my eyes to the secular world, then I can hope to FEEL the true glory of life...

I am a Daughter of God, spiritually begotten of the Father, who has a purpose for why I am here, and it is to stand and speak forth the knowlegde which I have gained through every life experience whether good, bad, horrible, heart-ripping, exhilarating, crushing, hurtful, fulfilling.... awe-inspiring.

And I can be Thankful, and even Grateful...for a childhood filled with horrors, for a mother who I barely know now, for the emotional trauma I experienced from watching loving parents turn to mindless, heartless monsters bound by drug addiction, and I can take every pain from my past, present, and future....and replace it with something better....and the only way I can do that is to return back to where it all began.

"I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me He was crucified, that for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled and died.

I marvel that He would descend from His throne divine, to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.
That He should extend His great love unto such as I, sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

I think of His hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt! Such mercy, such love, and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat, until at the glorified throne I kneel at His feet.

Oh, it is wonderful that He should care for me enough to die for me! Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!"

What makes up the "pieces" of us? Why are they there and who does it come from? Why is it so fulfilling and saving when hearts meet with hearts and both are edified to the point where life feels so precious and priceless? How can I be moved to tears when I hear my sister say on the phone, "I am so sorry for the burdens you have to bear. I wish there was something I could do to help!" Maybe I you think that maybe, just has to do with our Savior? When we feel the wind sifting through our lives, as we feel the sun warming our faces, in the still of the night when only the soft little breaths can be heard from a sleeping child...the world becomes still enough that the whispers of the Spirit testify to us of a greater purpose and plan, and despite our weariness, there is abundant strength gained from the Atonement of our older brother, Jesus Christ, who died because He loves us.

His LOVE is sufficient...

and I remain, humbly....ever thankful....

What are you Thankful for? Click here!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

O dear me!

Anna, who happens to be only 4 years old...on her way to almost 4 1/2, has been quite emotional lately! She cries about everything! Ok, so maybe the ladies can totally relate, but come on! She's just FOUR! Do I have to suffer the mood swings ALREADY?! And 8 1/2 seconds later, she's as happy as a lark! At times, it is quite frustrating...and most recently....very much hilarious!

This is what happened five minutes ago...

Carter went into the bedroom. Anna was already IN the bedroom. Uh oh! This could spell di-sas-ter! I hear someone who is very much in peril. I walk into the bedroom where both Anna and Carter are trying to play with the kitchen at the SAME time! Oh dear me! What a TERRIBLE predicament! What to do?

I ask Anna if she can please share the kitchen and take turns. I feel quite confidant that she can fulfill such a difficult task, afterall, I am preparing her for marriage someday, where she will always have to share the kitchen, bathroom, bed, and even the remote....with another boy!

This was her response:

Starting to cry...."I am DONE playin "mom and daughter" cuz Bubba jus ruins MY LIFE!" and then she stormed out the door!

I laughed my head off!!!

I love that girl...mood swings and all!
Sometimes...boys just take all the FUN out of something, eh?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Bedtime Routine"

Lately...the bedtime routine at our home is like this:

Clean up bedroom. Get jammies on. Brush teeth. Go pee. Carter...well, refusing to go pee. Clean up bedroom again. Read a few books. And then "one more". And then "one more". And then "one more". Crying. Why? Because mom absolutely REFUSES to read "one more"! Anna climbs in bed. Cover her up. Hugs and kisses. Carter climbs in Anna's bed. Gets pulled by any limb mom can reach over top of bunk bed. Crying. Carter in bed. Covered up. Hugs and kisses. Mom sings a "goodnight" song. And then "one more". and then "one more"! No more SONGS...mommy really CAN'T sing! Anna needs "Fluffy". Carter needs "doggie". Anna needs "Sassy". Carter needs "bear". Crying...NO MORE ANIMALS! Sniffles but kids are okay, snuggled with animals and blankets. Carter needs a drink. said no drinks until morning. More crying. Carter throws bear on the floor. Mom takes bear away...that is the rule. More crying. Carter wants bear. Mom wonders if he will ever learn. Mom gives carter the bear. Yup...Carter throws bear back on the floor! Bear gets put away until morning. Mom, at the door. Tries to shut the door. Anna needs a hug and a kiss! Mom reminds her she already got one! Anna says NO she didn't. Mom says YES she did! Crying. Mom gives Anna a hug and a kiss. Mom reminds Anna to PLEASE remember this time. Mom blows kisses. Shuts bedroom door. Lets out a huge sigh of relief. Goes to the couch and plops down. Eats something unhealthy. Hears a faint voice calling for, "Mommy!" What could it be now???

Tonight, Anna needed to ask me a very important question. I was trying to listen to what Anna was asking me, while holding Carter's legs down and explaining to him that he can't keep kicking the wall at bedtime. I couldn't understand what Anna was trying to say. I asked her to repeat it again...and again!

"Girl! I cannot figure out what you are talking about!"

"Mom, you know, weserwectshun!"


"You know mom...with yer feet and yer hands?"

Then it finally clicks, she's saying "resurrection"! Now I get it! So, Anna, what about it, I ask. She then asks me if she will have to get nails put in her feet and hands, too, when she gets resurrected. Like Jesus. I was surprised that she thought she would have to go through that too! She seemed very worried. I explained to her the Jesus was crucified, that mean people hung him on a cross, and AFTER he died, THEN he was resurrected! I told her that the only person who would be hung on a cross was Jesus. That she wouldn't have to be crucified, or anyone else. We would all die normally, and our spirits would go to Heaven, and then someday after that, we would be resurrected and our spirits and bodies would be re-united!

She heaved out a huge sigh of relief, got a big grin on her face and repeated, "Yeah! We not have to get nails in our hands and feet, just Jesus! We not have to be hunged on a cross, huh mom?"

"Nope. Just Jesus."

I'm sure glad He did what He my baby girl can be resurrected and live with Him again. I think she was pretty grateful for Jesus too....knowing that He suffered the she wouldn't have to.

After THAT conversation, I was pretty grateful for the whole "Bedtime Routine" after-all....

Good night!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We brought home the all-too-famous SWINE FLU!!! WooHoo!!
Add that on top of a few suckers, kitkat, hershey bar, tootsie roll, pixie stick...

yup...that spells F-U-N!

*even the "flu mist" couldn't keep it away from us in time!

-pictures to be posted soon of my little trick-or-treaters...

Monday, October 26, 2009

1,825 Days...give or take a few....

 WOW! 5 Years!

  We have been blessed with an itty-bitty baby...

and yet another itty-bitty baby...

Yup...I'd say we're making good time!

Click on my playlist for a really great song..."I run to you"...that I must dedicate to an amazing husband...and in which he would surely dedicate to his AMAZING wife! Five years ago, we would have never been able to predict what our life is now...and our life has surely taken us on a few back-roads we never knew existed! I think we still might be lost on one of em...trying to get back on the interstate with the rest of y'all!


I must admit...these back-roads sure are amazing...and we've learned more about what life should REALLY be

Your always going to have car problems...flat tires along the way...and you can't get going until you FIX em!

Sometimes the "rest stops" are too many miles apart...and it seems like it will be FOREVER until you can get a BREAK from all the driving! Your back will ache...your bum goes numb...your legs get stiff...and even all those Rascal Flatts cd's can get a little old....yeah....if that's even possible!

But you find when you finally arrive, and you get to step out of that car for a few minutes...breathe the fresh air and take in the're actually GLAD for all those miles you put behind you!

Life is the biggest "road trip" any of us will ever take....and of all the wonderful things you see and experience, none of it would even matter or mean anything if you didn't go along with your FAMILY.

There is no house, car, high heel shoe, hair style, designer jean, lip gloss, dish set, cruise, theme park, food, concert, game, or any amount of money....or anything money could buy....that will bring me more happiness than my own family! And to be honest...we've learned to be pretty darn happy without all of that "stuff".

I keep thinking of the scripture, "And this is eternal life, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." What could make a person any happier? And how do we come to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? We have to become more LIKE them...and the only way we become like them is by our every day actions.

What and who are we dedicating our time and talents to? What takes the greatest priority in our lives? Think of all the "things" we spend our money on. Do we really need those designer jeans from the GAP or the Buckle? Are those "things" worth the money we spent? What about that family down the street who is struggling to make ends meet? Couldn't we buy a cheaper pair of jeans, and use the portion of money we have left for a greater purpose? Many of us don't have much to give...but we can give our hearts to those around us. We can offer a helping hand, a kind letter or words of encouragement...even a simple "Hello friend, how are you doing today?" We all know there are so many opportunities for us to give and serve and help one another. What greater blessing could a parent offer their children than the gift to learn to give of yourself? To sacrifice your own WANTS to fulfill the NEEDS of fill up the hearts and enrich the souls of our Father's children.

I feel like I can celebrate five years of marriage trying to more fully live my life, and teach my children to live their lives more like our Savior would have us. We are learning step by step, and precept by precept. It isn't easy and all too often I am more selfish than I am compassionate. But my greatest JOY is found in my eternal family....they are my delights, my laughs, my hugs and kisses, a shoulder to cry on, they enlighten me, and so often frustrate me...but how could I ever learn what my loving Heavenly Father would have me learn if is wasn't for my family? They are my way back to eternal life....and as much as I yearn, at times, to take that trip to buy a brand new have a hired chef to cook all our family meals...and a maid to clean the house....I know that my family will be better off without them....*sniffle*.....and that my heart can only be filled with the greatest of love by giving to others what I would have for myself.

I give so much thanks to a wonderful husband who has walked by my side and held my hand as we learn what life is really about. I look at my children each day and am so grateful for the miracles each of them are. I thank the wonderful family members around us who have shown us so much love, acceptance, compassion, and generosity. It is only because of their examples why I write the things I do...we feel so blessed to be a part of such an amazing extended family. No greater love have we seen than through the lives of those around us.

Thanks Russ...for such an eye opening 5 years of marriage! And I thought that I could never be filled with more love than on the day we were amazing that we have surpassed that love ten-fold! I know that I can always depend on you to be there for me...listening....and sometimes not...that as much as we are grumpy, impatient, short with each other, or just being plain the end of the day our LOVE is what helps us overcome those daily weaknesses and mishaps. I hope that through whatever we go through in life....whether good or bad....that we can always "Run" to each other. you wonder what the next five years will bring??? Haha....I think we will be completely amazed!

love you

*a challenge...
Someday...we will have more to give...and Russ and I decided that we will do all we can to bless the lives of others around us by imparting of our substance...aiding the sick, the needy, the lonely....those with heavy hearts, the downcast, those who are lost, and to those whose spirits have been broken. There is too much pain and sorrow and hurt out there for those of us who have been blessed with so much to look the other way. So many many children... are "running away" from the mean and ugly things of the world...but where will they "run to"?

I refuse to look the other way. Someday....I will be able to roll up my sleeves...and do a work for humanity that too many of us have forgotten how to do....

I challenge anyone who reads this to live their lives...that they can pass this challenge on to others as live each day giving more of your time, talents, substance...your knowledge, your love...your hands....

and bring to this world something a little better, a little kinder, a little more loving...

Let's give something of worth to this world to "run to"....and it is up to each of us to decide what that might be.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Being photogenic...runs in the family...

 Next year, Anna will be in kindergarten...
and I am just trying to imagine what
"Picture Day"
will be like...


I'm not so sure...


 But it seems with us Merediths
that things turn out
than originally anticipated...


I rest my case...