Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Too Many Hats

How do I do this? Every year or so, I realize I have WAY too much going on in my life. How did it sneak up on me? When and why did I sign up for all of this? How can I possibly "wear" this many "hats"? Definitely not all at once. Wow, I think I need a bigger hat rack...

wife to Zeke
mother to Gabe
mother to Zoe
mother to Kaia
mother to Beck 
(all four "mother" hats are very different and separate)
daughter
friend
aunt
sister
niece
chauffeur
chef
maid
laundress
seamstress
shopper
picture taker
referee
home decorator
event planner
meal planner
errand runner
bill payer
budget maker
book club member x 2
pampered chef consultant
art volunteer at school
literacy volunteer at school
Room Mom for Kaia's class
busy "church calling person"
cat owner x 3
aquarium owner
book reader
movie watcher
blogger
"facebooker"
"not even close to professional, but wanna be" organizer
"wanna be" crafter/DIYer
"wanna be" author
"wanna be" college graduate
weirdo (all encompassing emotionally, physically, and mentally... I'm out there.)
oh, and Beck says, "UNO player"

I'm sure there's more...

I wonder what all of these hats would actually look like?? 
That's fun to think about... I may have to expound on that later.

Life is good. It really is, just BUSY. Can one be too busy? YES. What to give up? I'm not sure.

Some "hats" I love TOO much to even consider giving up... others "hats" I have to wear and I'm proud of it... other "hats" I want to wear more often, but keep them hanging on the rack just in case I get a chance to wear them later.

What are your favorite "hats"? How do you balance your time in "wearing" them? What would you say NO to? How do you say NO?

Well, I can't say NO to another round of UNO...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Elijah's Cup

FYI: In Judaism, Elijah's cup, is the fifth ceremonial cup of wine poured during the family Seder dinner on Passover (PesaŠł•). It is left untouched in honour of Elijah, who, according to tradition, will arrive one day as an unknown guest to herald the advent of the Messiah. During the Seder dinner, biblical verses are read while the door is briefly opened to welcome Elijah, who, it is further said, will resolve all controversial questions connected with the Law. In this way the Seder dinner not only commemorates the historical redemption from Egyptian bondage of the Jewish people but also calls to mind their future redemption when Elijah and the Messiah shall appear. (info from www.britannica.com)

I am currently reading a book of the same, fitting name, "Elijah's Cup". Normally, I wouldn't blog about a book until I'm finished reading it, but this one is too good to wait. I'm a little over halfway finished and I feel like this book has changed the way I think and given me priceless knowledge and insight into two very misunderstood and at times "invisible" disorders: High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.
Elijah's Cup: A Family's Journey into the Community and Culture of High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome

I found this book completely by "coincidence". One of my favorite quotes from Jeffrey R. Holland says, "A coincidence is just a small miracle in which God choose to remain anonymous." Finding this book was honestly no coincidence and in fact, has been an answer to years and years of prayers and questions.  At church a few weeks ago, our teacher was talking about the prophet Elijah and mentioned she has an animated bible DVD of the story of Elijah that her kids really enjoy. Thinking I might like to get this DVD for my kids, I went home and decided to google "Elijah". In addition to the DVD (which ended up being really great by the way)... I found THIS book!

I'm not exatlty sure where I want to go with this blog post...

Let me first say that I feel completely inadequate and somewhat unworthy to speak of something that I really don't know much about compared to some people. Please forgive my ignorance.

To me, the book is absolutely fascinating and at times, heart-wrenching. In her own words, the author tells her journey of raising a child with Autism.  I'm amazed at her emotional strength, courage, and honesty. I've been inspired by her "fight" to help her son, Elijah, have all she can get in order for him to have the best life possible and at the same time try to keep herself sane and functioning in a world that just does not understand what they are going through.

I thought of several friends and family members I know who are dealing with some sort of  Autism Spectrum Disorder, like Asperger's Syndrome. This book helps shed light on what it's like to be Autistic and care for someone who is. Valerie's son, Elijah, is autistic and she has a good friend who is diagnosed later in life with Asperger's Syndrome (AS). 

I'll let you know more after I finish reading it, but I think everyone who reads this book will be better informed and feel a greater sense of compassion for what people affected by Autism are going through. You never know who might be affected by some type of Autism. So many people go throughout their entire lives never being formally diagnosed. Autism Spectrum Disorders can be very difficult to diagnose -- sometimes only certain situations and stimuli can trigger symptoms. Many people also have a combination of disorders -- making it hard to distinguish which disorder is  causing what symptoms. For example, many people with Asperger's Syndrome also have Sensory Processing Disorder.

My desire is to understand more about these disorders so I can help my family. I have believed for a very long time that members of my own family might have Asperger's Syndrome and probably other disorders layered on top of it. Much to my dismay, there has been no formal diagnosis. Maybe I haven't fought for that as hard as I should. However, that opens up a new "can of worms" for me, so to speak. Sometimes I think it might be better not to have a formal diagnosis, a "label", if you will, specifically in the case of Asperger's Syndrome. 

Many people live very successful and fairly normal lives with Asperger's Syndrome; Temple Grandin being one of them, but the lifelong social repercussions are hard to quantify and are more valuable to me than worldly success. I don't want the "label" to be an excuse for the behaviors and issues nor do I want it to be a hindrance or stigma. Temple Grandin struggled for a long time without help or support. Behavioral therapy is the best help for people with AS and other disorders. In order to get professional help (as far as I know), you need a diagnosis. 

Herein lies my quandary.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering

Today is a good day even though I'm tired. My lovely black she-cat, Nora, somehow evaded the bedtime "putting out in the garage routine" and I woke to the sound of her meowing in my face FOUR times last night! Every time I would get up to let her out, she'd run away somewhere in the house and I was too tired to look for her. Blah.

Wow, I just thought of that definition of insanity quote again from Albert Einstein. It's incredible to me how much that quote applies in my life. If I would think about it and change how I'm doing something I know my life would be very different. (As in, I could have gotten more sleep last night!)

In case you've never heard this fabulous quote, here it is:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

It is SO profound to me. Amazingly simple, but miraculously effective. 

Last night, for example, I could have taken the time to find Nora once and put her out... done. Instead, I half-heartedly chased her from the bedroom, looked in the kitchen a bit and mumbled all the way back to my bed, only to do it all over again three more times during the night. Oh dear. Don't you feel like a different person when you're tired? I do.

Anyway, last night our family went to the Brigham City Temple open house. The temple is GORGEOUS. If you haven't been, there's a peach blossom motif throughout. Brigham City is famous for its peaches. Peach blossoms on the doorknobs, light fixtures, molding, and stained glass. Beautiful.

It was fun to see a few friends there (Heidi and Brandy)! We were hoping to meet another friend there -- thanks for the invite, Matt and Steph! But we had the opportunity to go with some other friends of ours and we had a really great time -- thanks, Karthik and Amrita!:)

My older two children weren't too thrilled about going and my younger two couldn't wait to get there -- not a good combination. Anyway, I'm glad we went. It was lovely. We went, right? I loved seeing all of the people there -- lots of children, old people, young people, black people, white people, and everything in between. But, I didn't even get any pictures :( Sheesh!

Afterwards, we went out for Chinese food with Karthik and Amrita. Do you love reading about the Chinese Zodiac? I do. Turns out, Amrita and I are both rabbits AND born in March. I thought that was cool. She's fun and very easy to be with and sarcastic and loves cookies -- my kind of girl! Karthik and Zeke work together. That is how we met. My kids think they are both very cool. That is a big thing!

I love people. I love getting to know people better. I love laughing. I love second chances. I love understanding and relating to people. I love being happy and looking for the good in life. 

Today is September 11th... I just keep thinking about it. I feel rather pensive today. Kind of somber and reflective. 

One of my friends, Brickell, said on Facebook this morning, "Isn't it amazing how you can remember exactly where you were, what you were doing and who you were with 11 years ago today. So sad:("

Another friend, Dave, said: "Eleven years ago today, we all built memories that we

 would rather not have, but will never forget."


It's hard for me to grasp that it has really been eleven years since that terrible day. I remember it so vividly. We had just moved back to Logan from Colorado a few weeks earlier. Gabe was starting preschool and Zoe was a baby. Zeke and I were getting Gabe ready for school and for some reason we had the news on. I remember watching the breaking news of some "random" accident. A plane had crashed into the North tower of the World Trade Center. It was an awful tragic "accident". As we sat there and watched the live news feed from the television reporter, a second plane suddenly came into view and instantly crashed into the south tower....

At that moment, our world changed forever. At that moment, I cried out to Zeke, just as we both came to the same horrifying conclusion, "This was NO accident!" I remember being SO afraid. Wanting to call my family, run and hide and never come out of my house again. I remember clinging tightly to Zoe and grabbing Gabe and just holding them. Wondering what kind of world I had brought my children into. Will there be a future for them? Crying and crying and not wanting Zeke to leave my sight. I remember thinking for awhile that day, "This is it. This could be the end of the world." Seriously. It was the end of the world as we knew it. 

As the events of that day unfolded, the attack on the Pentagon and the brave passengers of the ill-fated Flight 93, I was truly in shock. So many haunting images and unbelievable stories. I remember needing to go the post office for some reason and there was a huge line there. Everyone was pale-looking, huddled in small groups, talking quietly about the awful events of the day. Everyone knew. Everyone was affected. I remember getting a notice with my receipt. Something about the US postal service is unable to guarantee delivery at this time because of the terrorist attacks earlier that morning. I still have that paper somewhere. That paper spelled it out clearly to me. 

It really happened. It wasn't some horrible nightmare. It was REAL. All of those poor innocent people that died and those that gave their lives trying to help others were REAL. They had families and friends, futures, hopes, and dreams. I just cannot seem to wrap my head around it still. 

Somehow, being at the temple last night gave me peace as I thought of the anniversary today. Eternal lives. Eternal families. This life is but a small moment compared to eternity. 

I remember shortly after 9/11 someone speaking about the fallen firefighters, police officers, and others and referencing John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

I hope that all of us can remember that day and try to be a better person. More loving, more forgiving, more patient, more friendly, more compassionate, more willing to help others, and more thoughtful. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

29 Secrets to Happiness

29 Secrets to Happiness:
  1. Live beneath your means and within your seams.
  2. Return everything you borrow.
  3. Donate blood.
  4. Give all the clothes that you haven't worn in the last three years to charity.
  5. Stop blaming other people.
  6. Every day do something nice and try not to get caught.
  7. Admit when you make a mistake.
  8. Listen more and talk less.
  9. Every day take a 30 minute walk in your neighborhood.
  10. Skip a meal a week and donate the money you saved.
  11. Strive for excellence, not perfection.
  12. Be on time.
  13. Don't make excuses.
  14. Get organized.
  15. Be kind to people.
  16. Be even kinder to unkind people.
  17. Let someone cut ahead of you in line.
  18. Take time to be alone.
  19. Read a favorite book.
  20. Cultivate good manners.
  21. Be humble.
  22. Understand and accept that life isn't always fair.
  23. Know when to say something.
  24. Know when to keep your mouth shut.
  25. Don't criticize anyone for 24 hours.
  26. Learn from the past, plan for the future, and live in the present.
  27. Don't sweat the small stuff.
  28. Try to smile at everyone you pass by.
  29. Make this year the best yet!
*Thanks to the 12th Ward Relief Society (women's group in our church) for giving me this great list.

Wow. There are SO many things on this list I need to work on. Some are hard for me to admit that I need to work on, but they are blaring off the page from all of the rest! The "physical" things are so much easier for me to actually DO; give clothes to charity, take a walk, let someone cut in line. It's SO much harder to quantify the "mental" things and go about DOING them; stop blaming people, don't make excuses, be humble, accept that life isn't fair. 

You can tell someone, "Yeah, I gave a bunch of clothes to charity today", but how do you explain, "Well, today I finally accepted that fact that life isn't fair and boy, I feel great!" It doesn't work that way... or does it? I think the mental things are more like tracking your progress... doing a little better each day. The mental things are the ones I need to work on.

I'm going to pick two each week to work on. When I get to the end I'll start over. I'll try my best and hopefully over time I can develop some better habits. I want to be a better person. I feel like Satan is really working on me lately. I have to constantly keep a prayer in my heart to do what is right and to have the Spirit with me.

Another quote I really like from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you." I find myself thinking things like, "Well, at least I don't do THAT or I would never do THIS!" And you know, I'm justifying my poor behavior by weighing it against the behavior of others that I consider "worse". Yeah, I'm a real piece of work. A work in progress. :)

I just wanted to share this list with all of you and I hope it will help you be happier. No secrets here!

Here's a picture of Beck from our camping trip this weekend:
This was BEFORE he got into all the dirt -- he had SO much fun! 
I've never seen a kid play in the dirt like he did.

P.S. My stomach is churning and my hands are sweating.... right at this moment, our buyers are supposedly at the title company signing the papers to FINALLY close on our house!! Oh, I hardly dare get my hopes up... it might really happen! :) Maybe I can finally sleep at night.

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