Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Playing Hookie

This morning, I took Zeke to school as usual.  When we got about 1 mile from the school, the road was closed because of flooding.  I turned the car around, turned up a side road and headed back south hoping to find a different road that we could cross.  I called Michael and had him call the school to tell them that we were going to be late and that Zeke would still need breakfast.  Well, each road we came to was closed.  It was getting later and I was afraid that Zeke wouldn't be able to eat.  I called Michael back.  He had just left a message with the school because no one answered the phone.  I asked him to call back, see if Zeke could still eat breakfast and if not tell them we wouldn't be there today.  He gave me the school number and had me call.  I did and she secretary told me they would make sure Zeke got food.  Well, 45 minutes after we had left home, we were still driving trying to find a cross road to get to the other side of the water and get Zeke to school.  It was now 8:25. He was supposed to be there at 8:15.  We were back to where we started from at the Sioux Falls exit.  I called the school back.  She told me how to get to school but it would take me another 30 minutes to get there.  I told her we were jut going to keep Zeke home and we would try again tomorrow.  She was fine with that.  So, home we came.  We went for a nice walk/run/interval train and then got ready to go to the park for a picnic.  It was a beautiful day.  I felt bad for Zeke missing school because he loves it so much.  He didn't seem to mind but I didn't want to keep them home all day on such a beautiful day.  We went to Hy-Vee to get lunchables.  Their machines were having problems so it took us about 30 minutes in the checkout lane!  We finally made it to the park, had a lovely picnic and enjoyed playing until Olivia fell off one of the toys and hit her head.  A good time to stop and come home.  Anyways, we had a fun day playing hookie!  We have to enjoy this nice weather while we can...

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Calm Assurance That He Cares

I received just that.  For months now, Michael and I have been searching for a new job.  He likes the job he has, but it will never pay enough to support our large family.  We know there are opportunities out there.  And we have been doing all that we know to do to find those opportunities.  Michael has filled out applications, mailed off resumes, made phone calls and received a few offers.  Unfortunately, those offers would not have put us in any better situation.  Finances weigh heavy on the heart and mind.  They are constantly there, nothing takes it away.  It has especially been so lately.  Along with our searching we have been fasting and praying, hoping to find the answers that we seek.  Hoping that someone receiving Michael's information will be touched.  Hoping to be led in the direction we need to go to find answers to our pleas.  Both of us have felt that there was something for us, we just don't what it is or how to find it.  The scriptures teach us to turn to the Lord, pouring out our heart and soul to Him.  We are taught to pray over our flocks and crops, for an increase.  This is our flocks and crops.  We are also taught that when we do what He says, He is bound.  We have been trying to do just that.  We are not perfect, but we do our best.  We fulfill our callings, we try to serve and help others, we teach our children.  We continue even when it is hard.  Sometimes we (I) continue less gracefully than at other times, but we (I) still continue.  Saturday night as I was saying my prayers, I was once again sending out these pleas to my Heavenly Father.  Pleading for help, direction, patience, giving my heart to Him.  As I crawled into bed, I was filled with peace.  My heart was lightened.  I received a calm assurance that He cares.  I knew that Heavenly Father had heard me.  I knew that he was aware of me and my situation.  I knew that He would take care of me.  I knew He loved me.  For the first time in a very long time, that burden was lifted.  It's hard to describe the total feeling, it is one that I have not felt so strongly before.  It has stayed with me and even though nothing has happened yet to change our situation, I know that we are being watched after.  What a wonderful blessing!  I am so thankful for prayer.  I know I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and knows me.  He does hear and answer prayers.  He will lead us safely back home of we will give our hearts to Him and follow.


Be thou humble in thy weakness, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee,
Shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers.
Be thou humble in thy pleading, and the Lord thy God shall bless thee,
Shall bless thee with a sweet and calm assurance that he cares.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Love Facebook

No, I'm not one of those that spends every waking hour playing games and farming on facebook.  I don't do that kind of stuff on Facebook.  The reason I love it is because it has reconnected me with people that I thought I had lost.  Friends from high school, relatives, people from past places I have lived, missionary friends, etc.  My most recent reconnect is with an exchange student from Japan.  My junior year in high school she came to Brookings.  We became really good friends and spent that whole year together.  I really missed her when she left.  We lost touch over the years and I have always been sad about that.  She was the sweetest person in the world and I wondered often about her.  This morning when I was checking my emails, I had a message from her on Facebook.  She had just joined and had found me!  I was so excited to talk to her, see pictures of her and her family and after 18 years, reconnect.   How cool is that?  I love it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Love Fridays

Fridays are my favorite day of the week right now.  One reason for that is Zeke doesn't have school on Fridays so our morning is a little slower.  We don't have to be out the door by 7:50 am.  We can eat a little slower and get dressed a little later.  Another reason is because the three of us, Zeke, Olivia and I, get to go to the gym together.  Zeke and Olivia go to the Kids Zone and do a tumbling class while I workout.  Then we go swimming.    They love to swim.  We usually have to pool to ourselves and they have a good time playing on the slide, playing basketball, jumping off the edges and swimming with the kick boards.  After swimming and showers we head out to lunch together.  Also another special treat.  It's something we don't do very often as a family, but I set aside money each paycheck to do it with Zeke and Olivia.  A lot of times we go to Sam's Club and eat lunch there.  They love Sam's Club and I do too because the three of us can eat for about $5.  Today we went to McDonalds, the other favorite.  After we eat lunch we bum around town for awhile.  There are usually a few errands to do but since we don't have a strict schedule we take time to look at all the stuff they want to look at too.  That makes the errands a little more fun for them.  We usually don't get home until 3 or 3:30.  That gives us time to unload and have a snack before the other kids come home from school.  The rest of the day is spent playing.  Friday evenings we try to do something as a family.  A lot of times it is a movie and popcorn.  Sometimes we play the Wii.  Tonight we went and got ice cream and then went to Falls Park to see the waterfall.  Often on Friday nights, if they clean the basement, they get to have a slumber party down there.  Tonight is one of those nights.  They are watching Tom and Jerry with their sleeping bags and stuffed animals.  I love the simple pleasures :)  Anyways, I love Fridays and the extra time I get to spend with Zeke and Olivia.  I also love the family time in the evenings.  It helps wind down the crazy week and helps us reconnect before the next crazy week.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Her Voice Brings Me Joy

Growing up we lived, for the most part, far from family.  My extended family is all in the Nashville area.  We lived in California, Oregon, Utah, Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho and a few times in Tennessee for short amounts of time.  As a result I never got to know my extended family all that well.  My mom's parents didn't travel very often and my grandpa passed away when I was young.  My dad's parents came once a year most every year.  They were the ones I knew the best and loved deeply.  When I got married we were blessed to be near lots of family.  Michael's family was all there in the Rupert area where we lived so we got to spend a lot of time with them.  The kids got to know the family and we were all blessed by being close to them.  One of my greatest blessings out of it came through Michael's grandma.  We call her Grandma-Great.  She was always so warm and welcoming.  She loved to have us over and loved seeing the kids.  She would always come out for a visit on special days.  The kids and I would go to her house at least once a week to spend time with her.  I loved out visits and so did the kids.  She became not only the grandma I never had, but she became a close friend with whom I could share my life.  When we moved, it was hard for many reasons, one of those being the fact that I wouldn't have my weekly get togethers with her.  Thank goodness for the telephone.  We talk several times a week pretty much every week.  When I am having a hard time, talking to her brings me strength, peace and joy.  She encourages when I need it.  She uplifts and praises.  She loves no matter what.  I look forward to hearing her voice over the phone and it's a let down when I call and she isn't home to answer.  She always thanks me for calling and tells me how much she appreciates me thinking of her.  Really though, I call for my own selfish reasons!  I call because of how she makes me feel the rest of the day.  I tell her my good things and my not so good things.  I tell her my worries and my triumphs.  I relate to her my every day "mom" things and she listens and loves.  I don't think she realizes how much she means to me.  Since moving to Sioux Falls, I have had a hard time.  Friends have been slow coming.  At first I still had my friends from Hendricks but as time passes, the phone calls become less frequent as well as the get togethers.  The friendships are still there and strong, but the communication is lessening.  It's just what happens when you move.  I have experienced it many times in my life.  Knowing that Grandma was only a phone call away, helped me through some very lonely times.  It gave me a friend when there were none to be found.  I am so grateful for the time that we had there in Rupert to build relationships with our family and to build a friendship with a very dear and sweet lady.  I hope someday to be close enough again to be able to spend time with her and allow my children to be in her home.  Until then, I am grateful for the opportunity to hear her voice.  It truly does bring me joy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Insecurities

Today I was faced with one of my life long insecurities.  It's something that over the years has faded into the background, but occasionally it rears it's ugly head.  Today was one of times.  It happened innocently and without any intention to hurt me, but deep down it did.  I was at the barn with Zeke and Olivia.  They were practicing roping a steer head and Michael was doctoring a horses foot with the help of two others.  They were talking about a book they had read.  In the book there is a situation where the man goes into the bar and down the counter from him was a really ugly women.  As the night went on and he had more drinks, he looked down again and saw this beautiful girl sitting there.  He didn't know when the ugly one had left and this beautiful one had shown up.  Well, I'm sure you can guess...the ugly one hadn't really left, the alcohol had just made her beautiful.  Well, one of the guys started laughing and asked Michael if that was how he had met me.  Haha.  I know he didn't mean anything by it and I really have no hard feelings towards him, although I wouldn't have minded that big draft horse to step on his foot about the time he started laughing :)  Now, I know this all sounds silly and petty.  Get over it, right?  I will, don't worry.  But to explain it a little more and why it hurt, I'll go on a little further.  Growing up I was blessed to be in the middle of four boys.  Some of those boys found great pleasure in torturing me.  I had nicknames such as doggie doo, mutt face, doodoo head, etc.  Very flattering and very uplifting.  I was reminded that I was ugly, told I was fat and that no one would ever like me.  My parents tried to stop it, but they weren't around all the time.  Now, my brothers probably don't know this, but I worshipped them.  I looked up to them.  I wanted to be like them.  When those things were said by them it hurt.  I was a very shy, self conscious child with very little self-esteem.  I thought everyone believed as they did.  Now I am all grown up.  I have gotten better over the years.  I realize they were just stupid boys doing and saying stupid things.  They have grown up too and feel bad for the treatment they gave me.  My self confidence has risen and I'm not the same little girl I was then.  But that little girl is still in me and sometimes, certain things bring her to the forefront.  Today, the group of men (stupid boys) laughing in my behalf at their funny (not really) joke, brought all those things back.  It was like I was little again and they were my brothers and their group of friends.  Like I said, I know it sounds silly.  I think we all have insecurities of some sort, something from the past that causes weakness and silly reactions.  This is mine.  What did I do?  Well, when I left the barn I cried, just like I would do when I was little.  I didn't cry a lot, but just enough to get it out of my system.  Then I prayed.  Why?  Well, because, over the years I have learned to find my real worth and beauty through feeling the love of my Heavenly Father.  I prayed for reassurance and for love.  Then I ate a piece of chocolate because I love chocolate.  Then I was over it.  As I said before, we all have insecurities.  We all have things that make us feel less of a person.  I have found over the years, to search for things that contradict those insecurities.  Find things that build us up.  We are all children of God.  We have potential that we can not comprehend.  We have abilities and gifts beyond our imaginations.  We have to focus on those, on who we are and what we have done and what we have the ability to become, no matter what insecurities we face.

Friday, September 17, 2010

What's the Point?

This week has been a struggle for me.  I have been asking lots of questions and wondering, "what's the point?"  Michael and I, as I have mentioned in earlier blogs, have been trying to find ways to improve our family situation and prepare us better for the future to take care of our family.  We have spent many, many hours searching and working and praying, hoping to find answers and ways - sooner than later.  Both of us felt that something was going to happen soon.  I guess our soon is not Heavenly Father's soon.  We are still waiting.  Tuesday morning as I got on my knees to pray, I felt like I was saying the same things again and I got really frustrated.  What's the point?  So I got up and started doing other things, but that feeling of frustration remained with me.  I also have been working extremely hard on getting in shape, losing weight and lifting weights.  My first few weeks showed success and I was excited for it to continue.  Then this last week, I gained instead of lost.  I was frustrated and wondered again, what's the point?  That added to my already existing feelings and I became overwhelmed with it.  Here we are working so hard at so many things and nothing seems to be happening.  They are all good things and we are working with good intentions and desires, yet nothing seems to be happening.  What's the point?  Why continue to try so hard?  Well, later that night, I went running with the girls.  I had already done my workout that day, lifting weights and running so I didn't plan on being able to run with them.  I planned on pushing the stroller and walking, while giving my support and encouragement to them as they ran.  However, I decided to give running a try.  To my amazement, I was able to run the entire way, pushing the stroller with two kids up and down the hills on a freshly grated (which means soft, loose dirt) road.  I was surprised that I was able to do it after the workout I had already done.  Then it sank in. This is the point!  My added strength and ability.  After lifting weights, both upper and lower body, the things I love to do - like run - are becoming easier.  My little muscles around my knees are stronger.  My legs are stronger.  My lungs are stronger.  I can do more than I used to be able to do.  My spirit began to be lifted.  I applied that to my other area of frustration and I began to feel even better. What's the point?  To continue on even when the results aren't noticeable.  To put faith in our Heavenly Father.  To show Him that we will continue even when it is hard.  He knows our needs.  He knows our desires.  He knows our efforts.  He will bless when the time is right.  In the meantime, we will be strengthening our little muscles, increasing our endurance and becoming stronger.  It's still hard.  It's still frustrating at times and it still requires a lot of work and energy, but now I see the point and that helps me get through the next workout, spiritually and physically.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Treasures

This morning as I was walking Zeke to his school, he reached up and grabbed my hand.  It's something he does almost all the time no matter where we are walking to.  I absolutely love it.  Olivia won't hold my hand anymore - she's too independent.   Dillon will, Zane won't, the girls will off and on.  As I was going into the school today, I looked around at all the other kids.  Someday, I thought, Zeke will be like these kids.  He'll be too "big" to hold my hand, especially when other kids are around. These little everyday treasures will be gone and we'll have moved on to another stage of life.  It makes me a little sad at the thought, but it also makes me stop and enjoy the everyday things a little more because they will one day be gone.  So I hold on a little tighter while he wants me to so that I will be able to let go when he needs me to.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Runner is Born

In October, the girls and I are going to run a 5k together.  I told them if we are going to do it we need to start running in the evenings.  Last night was our first run together.  Michael was gone so we ALL had to go.  Zane and Dillon rode their bikes and Zeke and Olivia rode in the stroller.  Off we went.  Now Maddi is our athletic child.  She loves all sports and wants to play all sports.  Makenna is our cheerleader, dancer, prissy kind of girl.  I expected Maddi to take off and leave us in the dust so I had a little talk with them before we left.  I didn't want Makenna to be upset if Maddi beat her.  I told them to find their pace and not worry about anyone else.  Just go the speed you want to go.  Makenna asked if she could jog.  I told her yes and off we went.  Well, it started out like I thought it would.  Maddi was in the lead and I was behind with Makenna.  Then all of the sudden, Makenna found her groove and she was gone.  Maddi gets really bad side aches when she runs very far (I think she will be a sprinter) but she usually ignores them and keeps running.  Makenna usually gets tired and wants to be done three minutes into it.  Not last night though!  She took off and left the rest of us in the dust.  She ran the entire way (just over a mile) without stopping or slowing down.  And she loved it!  We, of course, made a huge deal of it because that's what Makenna needs.  Even Maddi told her she did good.  Makenna was on cloud nine and quite proud of herself.  I was proud of her too and quite amazed.  A runner is born!  I love it because I love to run too.  I look forward to many races with her.  Little Zeke got out of the stroller halfway through and ran too.  He went about a half mile.  Not bad for short little 4 year old legs!  They are excited to go out and do it again.  Tonight I may have to be pushed in the stroller though - it was boot camp day today :)  Anyways, keep your ears open in the future - you might just hear Makenna's name!  She's going to be a rock star one day in what ever it is she chooses to do!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Curve Balls

Sometimes, life throws you a curve ball.  You may think you know exactly what you need and want.  You may devote tons of time and effort going after this need or want, seeking, searching, praying, calling, writing, figuring.  Then one day you may wake up and wonder if you really know what you're doing.  Are you really going in the right direction?  Is what you're seeking after really what you need and want?  Is there another way to look at things or achieve your goals?  If there is, what is it and how do you accomplish it?  Then the seeking, searching, praying,calling, writing, figuring has to start all over again.  That's where I am at right now.  Life is good, but somewhere, out of nowhere, life threw a curve ball that leaves me scratching my head and wondering...

A Fun Day Out

Friday was a fun day for us.  The 4 older kids had school.  Zeke, Olivia and I went to the gym.  They played while I exercised, then we went swimming.  They love to swim.  We were the only ones in there so they had the pool to themselves.  After swimming, they chose to go to McDonalds to eat.  We found a nice little booth for three and ate lunch.  AFter lunch we had to do the shopping.  We started at Sam's Club, my kids love Sam's Club.  I got one of those big flat carts and Zeke and Olivia rode around on that showing me which sample stations to stop at and which ones to skip.  Then we headed to Walmart, my kids hate Walmart.  That wasn't as much fun, but we survived!  They fell asleep on the way home and napped that last hour until the big kids came home from school.  Then we all loaded up and went to some friends' house for supper.  We had pizza, chips, salad, lemonade,  brownies and ice cream - everything kids love.  They have 7 kids so they all had a blast playing together.  It was a really fun evening.  Sometimes it's just nice to  be out of the house doing whatever.  Friday was one of those days.  Luckily we had lots of things to do so we could spend the day out!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Little Voices

video
I love little voices.  No, not the ones in my head, my children's voices.  At least I love them when they are not yelling and fighting.  I love their little giggles and quiet conversations.  I especially love listening to them sing.  Olivia has been on a singing kick lately.  She sings about everything.  Last night she was singing a song about Jesus and God.  This morning she was singing about her black pants that broke and we had to throw them away, not in the laundry room but in the garbage.  She also sings songs she learns at church and ones she learns from the radio or the older kids.  When Zeke and the others are around they usually join in with her.  Their voices are so pure and even when they are off key it still sounds beautiful.  All my kids love to sing and I love listening to them.  There is nothing so sweet as the sound of little voices.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Boot Camp

After several recommendations from a friend at the gym, I decided to try the boot camp class today.  One of the trainers does it.  It's a 45 minute class.  I thought, "I can do 45 minutes, even if it's hard."  HAHA!!  Hard is an understatement!  There were several times when I thought my legs were going to completely give way and I would fall to the floor in a sweaty, pathetic heap.  I felt good, in a very painful, exhausting kind of way.  A way that I couldn't handle for longer than 45 minutes once a week.  A way in which I will have to mentally prepare days in advance in order to go again next week.  After the class, as I was limping pitifully across the room to put my weights and mat away, the instructor asked me how it was.  "HARD!" I said.  Her reply was, "Good!"  Then I asked her how a class like this would work into the weight training schedule I was trying to keep.  My thought was how could you lift weights after you exercised like that went totally numb from the neck down.  She said that was considered cardio!  What!?  Cardio!?  Lunges, squats, jumping squats, side squats, planks, pushups on the bosu ball, wall sits with shoulder presses and many, many more painful moves one right after the other with no rest in between?  Yes, cardio.  So I should still do my weight regimen even when taking the class.  Luckily, I had done my weights before the class so I could just slowly limp home today.  Now this instructor/trainer is a competitor for women's body building.  She is ripped!  I have never seen abs like hers.  They are amazing!  I covet her abs, not her shoulders or legs, just her abs.  She's very nice and very helpful and she proceeded to give  me tips on how to better use my time and energy and how best to go about this process I am in.  I'm glad I went to the class today.  I do think "Boot Camp" is an understatement.  I think "Torture Camp" would be a better name, but I will go back next week and get tortured again.  This time I will do it on the back row though, and I will wear a different shirt so that it doesn't keep sliding up my back while I do the floor exercises.  It's hard enough to do the workout, no one needs to see my "abs" right now and add to the pain :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Righteous Desires

The scriptures teach us that we will be granted the righteous desires of our hearts.  The prayers of the righteous will be heard and answered.  Right now, Michael and I are at a point in our lives where there are many things that we are looking for and desiring to improve our family and our lives.  Much time has been spent in prayer, fasting, searching, pondering, and talking among other things.  The desires we have are righteous.  Our voices are lifted up to our God in Heaven with faith and hope that these righteous desires will be granted.  Of course, we have in our own little minds what we think would be the solution to all of this.  These solutions are also sent up in prayer.  Part of a desire being righteous though, is it being in accordance to what God knows is best for us.  So while we plan and search and pray, we have to keep in mind that we need our hearts and minds in tune with God's.  He knows us.  He knows our needs and wants.  He knows our family.  He knows what we want for our family and our future.  He knows what is best for us.  We will continue to search, pray, talk, ponder and plan, that's part of our responsibility.  But we will also have to continue to have patience.  Our prayers and righteous desires will be granted, but in the Lord's way and time, not ours.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tuff

Yesterday the boys went with Michael to meet Tuff Hedeman.  One of the western stores here was having their 100 year anniversary and he was there signing autographs.  The ranch had taken one of their wagons there for the celebration so they stayed to meet Tuff.  For those of you who don't know, he is a famous bull rider.  He rode (tried to ride) Bodacious the bull who was eventually retired because he was too mean.  Tuff had his face knocked in from Bodacious.  6 weeks later at the NFR, Tuff drew Bodacious again.  He chose not to ride.  The announcer said that was the smartest thing he had ever seen and the crowd stood and cheered for Tuff.  The owners decided to retire him after he seriously injured another rider.  They were afraid he would eventually kill some one.  He was also the first bull rider to earn $1,000,000.  Anyways, the boys met him and now all have big dreams of riding bulls!  We'll see...


Zane and Zeke also learned how to crack a whip.  Zane actually made it crack.  Dillon didn't want to learn, he was busy shopping trying to find something to spend his birthday money on!  They all had a great time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Dillon!

Yesterday Dillon turned 6!  He was so excited for his birthday to get here.  We let him open his presents before he went to school.  He kind of had a Vikings theme this year.  He loves the Vikings.  We blew up purple, yellow and white balloons.  He got a Vikings jersey, Vikings pajama pants, Vikings socks, a Vikings teddy bear and a Vikings ink pen.  He also had a Vikings cake.  He loved every minute of it.  Maddi and Makenna wore Vikings shirts in honor of his birthday.  Olivia wore a purple princess shirt.  Zeke couldn't find and yellow or purple clothes so he just wore yellow socks.  Zane does not like the Vikings so he wore his Green Bay Packers Jersey.  He also made Dillon a birthday card, football themed, in which the score was Packers 100 - Vikings 0!  We are so blessed to have Dillon in our family.  His smile lights up the whole room and he has the best giggle in the whole world!  I love his hugs and kisses.  He is so kind and thoughtful and always tries his best to do what he should.  It was so fun to get to celebrate his special day with him!