Tag Archive: Teenagers


The ShepardI’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Some know us as Mormons. I am sure that many have heard about the Ordain Women movement that a member of our church has started. I will refrain from giving my opinion on her and the movement itself. I try to align myself with the Prophet. I have a perfect faith that God is in charge of His church and when the prophet speaks, God speaks. I do not doubt. I will however like to mention my distaste for the people who are so quick to have an opinion on a situation without them even have one iota of a clue of what is going on.

The lady that is a member of our church and started the movement of “Ordain Women” is clearly struggling with not being able to hold the priesthood in her life. I don’t know her name, because I haven’t been following any of it. Got my own issues to deal with. I of course like many have been raised in this church, know what the Priesthood is and although I do not hold it, I have access to it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year. Thus it is not anything I believe I need to hold in my life to make me any different from what I already am. These ladies are entitled to the very same no matter their stations in life. Our church is set up to accommodate single mothers, single sisters and widowers who do not have a priesthood holder in their home. Case in point: One night I was talking to a very close acquaintance of mine. She is a single mom and has been for many years. She has really struggled with the effects of divorce and raising children. With divorce comes bitter feelings and even from her own children. She was crying one night after having an argument with one of her kids. She was telling me how hard it is to be a single mom and sometimes feeling the negative attitudes from her kids. and no husband to stand up for her or help her. She was very overwhelmed and struggling terribly. She felt like she needed a priesthood blessing, and there was no one she felt she could call to give her one. Her father lived a couple of hours away and he was the only one she had in her life to help her. When I hung up from her, I immediately called her Bishop. He made contact with her within a day and in turn called her home teachers. They came and offered her the service she so desperately needed. This is how sisters of our church have access to the priesthood.

On to what I wanted to discuss. Excommunication in our church is a serious matter. It is one that leaders do not take lightly. The church is set up to help members try to fix what is going on their lives without them having to excommunicate someone. They get many opportunities to change and set things straight. It is all up to them in what they do with those opportunities. In early periods of the church, excommunication was more prevalent than what it is now. Someone has to do some serious sins without a desire to change before the church considers excommunication. I am not an authority on it by any means. Nor do I want anyone thinking I am. It is a serious and sad situation. My father was in a bishopric where he had to be present for church disciplinary actions for young adults in the area where he served. He came home so sad and so depressed because he had seen young members of the church have to go through this. He never told us anything because it is a confidential and private matter, but  I saw firsthand how much it hurt him.  It hurt him because of the chances they were given that the didn’t take advantage of. Thank goodness there was only one he had to experience in his 4-5 years serving.

The thing I have a hard time with this Ordain Women leader is that if I were in her position and I was on the verge of losing my membership in a church that I loved with every fiber of my being, I would not go to the New York Times and tell them about it. To me, this says a lot about this person. It says a lot about what she is trying to accomplish. It says a lot about what she holds sacred and dear to her in her life. There is absolutely no way I would want the world knowing I was being kicked out of church. With that said, I do not know fully what is going on and will reserve my opinion on what I think should happen. I do know that if it happens to her, it will be a decision that will be made with a lot of thought and prayer. We love our members and hate to see any of them leave or be kicked out. We are about saving souls, not losing souls.

I have 3 young adult children. One daughter in particular has seen within her circle of friends a split that  this threat of excommunication is causing. It has saddened her greatly because a lot of her friends are automatically calling judgments on the leaders without knowing the full story. Everyone is jumping on the opinion boat to give their two cents worth and quite frankly, not one of those kids have sat in any meetings that (Ok, I am going to have to look the Ordain Women leader’s name up because I keep wanting to say Katy Perry and I know that isn’t right…just a minute..) Kate Kelly has been in with church leaders. They only read what is written, hear what is said then form their “Only true and correct” opinions off of that. It’s like trying to make good judgments based on gossip. You will never find the truth until you search the source for it and then realize that there is always two sides to every story.

Our family just went through a very difficult situation where this type of thing happened. My son was calling around asking people if they had any old metal he could haul off to the recycle place because he was trying to earn money to buy a car for an automotive class he was taking. So he and his buddy had permission from the people they called to collec this metal and haul it off. About a week after they had collected this metal, we had an officer come to our door. Apparently when one of my son’s friends had told him he could have some metal at a house they had just moved out of, unfortunately being teens the property boundaries weren’t made all that clear. Without knowing the exact boundary, or thinking he knew the boundary, my son and his friend hauled off an old cast iron sink that was buried in the mud just 4 feet from the property boundary. They also grabbed a tractor scraper in the same area. There was a ton of metal behind this area that they didn’t touch because they believed they were where they could take things.  As soon as we were alerted to the mistake, my son went the next day to the recycle place to see if it was still there. Unfortunately the sink wasn’t, but the scraper was recovered. My son even offered to mow lawns or anything to pay back for the sink, but it ended up him having to go to court where the charges were dismissed because the courts saw it as an honest mistake. In the meantime, rumors were flying around the town we lived in that he was going to jail, that he had gone into someone’s  house and took the sink out.  Basically that he was a thief. It was unbelievable some of the stuff people had been saying about him. People that he thought were his friends. Friends usually come straight to the source to get the truth. At least I would. These people knew my son. They should have known that he was not the type of person that would do that, yet they chose to listen to gossip and to spread it, instead of coming to my son and asking. The truth got more hidden every time the gossip was retold. During this time, he had also been trying to sell a jeep to help him get this car. He had someone come to the house, sign the title and pay for it and then when they went to drive off it wouldn’t start. The guy came back in and took his money back and told my son he would come back later to get it. He never came back despite my son calling him and trying to figure out what was going on. He wouldn’t return his calls or anything. After awhile we figured the guy wasn’t coming back. So we had a title he had signed which presented a problem with trying to sell it. We called the DMV and they told us we just needed a form to fill out explaining the situation. We got busy and forgot to get the form. None of us remembered we hadn’t gotten the form when my son ended up selling the jeep to a close friend of the family. The young man had only paid my son for half of what he was selling it for and my son was willing to let him pay the rest later. He took the title and none of us remembered to give them the form. My son had mentioned to the kid that we needed to get the title fixed, but we all forgot about it until the day the father of the boy showed up at our house. Pretty sure the boy forgot about it also.

I am not sure who was in more shock over the way this father reacted, my husband and I or my son. This father had a heated exchange with my son telling him that he had taken this jeep to the recycle place and because the title had someone else’s name on it he didn’t want to get charged with grand theft auto for cashing the check he got for it etc. My son felt that he was being accused of selling the jeep to someone and then turning around and selling it to someone else keeping the cash from both sales. What this father didn’t realize is that he himself was guilty of the very thing that he seemed to be accusing my son of. His son had not paid my son the other half of the money for the jeep. This father had sold something to someone else that did not fully belong to him. We could have by law taken him to court over this, but we don’t do that kind of thing. We discussed this in our home wondering if this father had heard rumors about our son and automatically assumed that my son was now a bad kid and was trying to rip him off. Only going off what he thought the situation was instead of taking the time to ask. Perhaps he was having a bad day and took it out on my son. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that what was once a cherished relationship, no longer seems to exist with this guy. We talked to our son and told him that perhaps he didn’t know that his son hadn’t paid for it in full. Which really doesn’t justify the behavior in anyway, but there are always two sides to every story. We expressed to our son the importance of not mis-treating this individual even though my son felt that he was wronged. I will not lie when I tell you that it was a very hard to deal with personally. I am still trying to get to a place where I can feel like I have fully forgiven this father.

My son took this to heart and was still patient with the man’s son, hoping that he would eventually pay him the remainder for the jeep. My son is pretty trusting, because he himself does pretty much what he says he will do so of course he assumes everyone is like him. One day while driving down the road, he saw this father pushing a 4-wheeler up the street. My son stopped to ask him if he needed  help. This man just looked at him and kept walking forward. Not once acknowledging my son’s willingness to help him out. My son told me a couple of days later what had happened. I told him how proud of him that I was that he was able to look past the bad experience between the two and reach out in friendship. This hurt my son greatly. I have not seen my son cry very often, but this made him cry. He did not understand why someone would treat him like this. To this day, this man will not look at my son. My son is determined to rise above and move on from the past. His son paid a little more on the jeep, but stills owes my son money, but he is looking past it and moving on. He told me that he isn’t sure if the kid forgot how much it was sold to him for after so long of not paying for it or what, but he is looking past that to save what relationship there is left there. I quite frankly don’t know how he does it, because it would be hard for me to keep trying after being knocked down a few times. Unfortunately this whole situation has caused some serious trust issues with my son. He has trust issues with those he once called friends. It has also opened all of our eyes to how wrong we can be with some situations if we don’t fully know the truth. My son was going through a very hard time. This man could have taken a step back and considered his approach and perhaps could have gotten the story behind what was going on. But he instead took the other road and lashed out in anger. We tried calling him, tried going to his house. We tried to contact him a few times to tell him what the situation was, but without any luck.

I bring this up because this is what happens when we are quick to make judgments without seeing the whole picture. We think we know everything, and think we are entitled to those judgments because of things we have only seen on the surface or things we have heard or because we are mad or various other reasons. I have found myself on the judgment end many times and am trying to make a vast improvement in the way I approach things. I myself hurt someone very close and his family and to this day am still having a hard time forgiving myself for it. Even though they have forgiven me. I hurt someone dear and that kind of situation is hard to recover from.

In my line of work, I meet people every day that you make quick judgments on for one thing or another. Even when someone comes in to apply for a job,  a quick judgment of that person is made without really knowing that person.

I used to work with a girl that I initially looked on her appearance and kind of  judged her, but quickly found she was a delightful young lady. After working with her for awhile I realized what a horrible life and childhood this girl had had. No child should have to go through that. To see where she was in life from what she came from was amazing. She told of a time when she was in a store with her husband. She was 19, She was about 7 months pregnant. She was wearing some leggings and had mentioned she didn’t want people seeing her underwear line, so she had chosen a more “uncomfortable” pair of underthings to wear to avoid that. As they stood in line to get their food, she  heard someone behind her say, “No wonder she is in the condition she is in with what she is wearing.” I was horrified first that someone would just say that to someone. Not to mention that the girl was married, standing with her husband. I thought to myself, “What right do they have saying something like that?”

Once I wanted to be friends with someone on Facebook. I truly wanted to get to know them. This person never accepted my “friend request”, but later informed me that they wanted to only be friends with people outside of our community. I was cool with that. Whatever. Then years later I find out that they had told someone that I didn’t like them because they hadn’t accepted my friend request. The ironic thing of it is, is that this individual is very hard to get to know. Sometimes they act like they want to talk to you, sometimes they don’t. So I am kind of the type of person that “doesn’t want to invade someone’s personal bubble”. So I am really not sure how to act around them. I very willing to talk when spoken to, but if I feel they don’t want to talk to me I back off. This person doesn’t see how they come off sometimes. In fact they have many friends on Facebook that are in the community. So if I wanted to go off of that, I could be the one seeing they didn’t like me, or didn’t want to be friends with me. They have never sent a friend request, and I have backed off from my initial request and let them use Facebook the way they seem fit.  The fact is that sometimes in relationships with others, we don’t take responsibility for our half of things not working. I could be more approachable if it wasn’t I was so cautious to not cross boundaries. Or they could perhaps say, “Hey, maybe the situation is not what it seems. Maybe she is just quiet and doing what I asked her to do”. No, we make quick judgments.

Why do we do this to each other? Why do we think we know everything about everyone without knowing anything about a lot of people and think it is our job to “enlighten” other people who then cast those same judgments on someone they don’t know? It’s a vicious cycle.

A recent article was posted in our local newspaper about a reporter being kicked out of the courtroom because her shoulders were showing and the court room had a dress code that there were no sleeveless shirts or hats to be allowed in the courtroom. Of course every feminist in the state of Utah got on the band wagon pouring out their hearts about how this court single handedly sexualized this ladies bare shoulders because they had kicked her out. Not once anyone acknowledging a dress code or rules of conduct in a courtroom. When my son was to appear in court over this sink dilemma, we were mailed a letter telling us what the dress standard would be for the court and was expecting it to be upheld. A lot of the people attributed the “Kicking out” to the LDS church policy on modesty.I have no idea what makes them think that the church went into that courtroom and demanded that that court of law abide by our modesty policy. I read some of the comments and quiet frankly laughed at a lot of them. I have never before seen a firestorm of misjudgments in my life. I was dumbfounded. I have lived in other areas of the United States and common sense tells me that every court in this country has a dress code to abide by. Feminists want the same rights as men, but they want to set the rules to by which they want equality. Such as a sleeveless tank top that a man wears to court should never been put in the same category as a woman’s sleeveless blouse. Really, sleeveless is sleeveless. That rules applies across the board and these women should be grateful they are being treated equal. I have seen Judge Judy herself rip into someone in her court for wearing more clothes than this young lady did, because she thought it was disrespectful to show up looking like they did. It was her courtroom, her rules. My job has a dress code, my children’s schools have dress codes, stores have dress codes. Can you imagine what the consequences would be if they didn’t? We would have half naked men and women parading around in front of our children without them accepting any responsibility for exposing young kids to that.

 

Our society has become nothing more than an opportunity for someone to tell you what they think and that your opinion means nothing or your side means nothing. No matter what the true story is. No one wants to search the truth and then base their opinions on their findings. They want to quickly form opinions and blast those all over the world as fast and as hurtful as they possibly can without taking responsibility for lies, gossip or the lack of truth.

Many times I have found myself on the other end of the whipping stick because I have voiced my religious beliefs. I have been called judgmental because I feel marriage is between a man and a woman. It is my opinion. I am entitled to it. It is my right as an individual in this country as much as it is their right and it is my right to practice my religion as I want, just like it is theirs. This great country gives us this ability. Society believes I am no longer entitled to my religious beliefs if it goes against someone else’s.  When I express them I am condemned. I get called bigot, racist and every other word you can imagine from people who don’t even know me. They know nothing about me. They base their judgments off the strokes of a keyboard.

My daughter who has always been a quiet, shy soul had posted a blog post about judging others that went viral. She had a lady post a comment that said that she found my daughter rude and extremely unprofessional and would not take anything she said as anything to be worth reading. My daughter has one of the kindest hearts I know. She hates to see people mistreated or ever feel like she has hurt someone’s feelings. So much so that she removed a blog post about activities she wanted to do while in young women’s because she was afraid her young women’s leaders would have taken it wrong and thought she didn’t like them. She loved all of the ones she had and didn’t want to hurt them in any way. She is very conscience about how she treats and reacts with people, yet this lady based her opinion on typed digital words that have no emotional attachment whatsoever. The Internet has given us to opportunity to interact with people all over the world, but it has also become one of the biggest tools of Satan to be hurtful, mean and to quite frankly bully anyone who goes against us. We don’t have to see these people in our lives. So we unattach ourselves to the comments we make because we don’t see the hurt we cause. We strike out with our hurtful tongue and then continue on our merry way without thinking twice of the devastation we have left behind. It is an Internet based Hit-and-Run basically.

When we as a society and people will take a step back BEFORE passing judgments or forming opinions and tell ourselves that there are always two sides of every story and take a more thought out approach to the way we communicate and deal with people, then perhaps we can save ourselves from this destructive pattern we have put ourselves in.

When Christ, our loving Brother, hung on the cross; being persecuted for things He did not do He prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” When we as a society learn to forgive and to not be so quick to be offended, then perhaps we may start to change the hate filled culture we have created for ourselves. It starts in our homes where we have the most influence. We must teach our children to veer from this horrible destructive path we are on. We have to teach them to love and to forgive. We have to teach them to mind their tongue when on the Internet. We have to teach them to think of others when they say something, do something or respond to something. We must teach them to ask themselves, “What would Christ have me do. How would Christ have me act”. If we don’t start with our kids and try to change our own behavior we will eventually destroy ourselves.

 

 

Gotta Love Kids

You know that feeling, when you get into bed at night and all of a sudden you revert back to a child and think for a split second..”Is something under my bed?” Maybe you don’t, but many times I have found myself thinking that.

I have been scared many times in my life by real life “creepers” so I tend to have an overactive imagination with some things.

We have some “interesting” neighbors that have moved in that have made us more vigilant when it comes to making sure things are locked up when we leave, etc. I  hate feeling like this in my own home. It didn’t used to be like this.

Well we are very active in our church and attend meetings every Sunday. When you live in the type of neighborhood I live in, most people know when you are gone on Sundays and at what times and for how long. This is information  that you really don’t want people knowing if they want to break into your house.

So each week in the back of my mind I think, “They know we are gone, I hope they don’t try anything”.

Two weeks ago, we came home from church and I had just come out of the bathroom. I was singing The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, or at least trying to because I couldn’t past “Chippewa on down” because I couldn’t remember the words. So I was in my own little world trying to figure out what the next words were. I came around the end of my bed and turned to go out the door when something grabbed my ankle from underneath the bed.

I really shouldn’t have to explain my reaction. It was like having a near death experience. I screamed for at least 2 minutes before I heard my daughter laughing. She is lucky she started laughing or the adrenaline might have jumped and  I might  have started kicking her in the face.

I seriously had to sit down after this. Have you ever been scared so bad that your heart hurt? My heart was pounding so hard it hurt. I sat there breathing hard and holding my breath. Like Fred Sanford does when the “Big One” is coming:

Anyway, I decided that the next time I sing The Wreck of the Edmund Fiztgerald it will be Tim Hawkins version:

Facing Your Fears

This past week, I was privileged to travel with a group of about 30 youth and a few adults to Jackson Hole Wyoming for a youth conference.

In my mind I tell myself that I am an adventurous soul, but then some situations I get in I truly ask myself, “What were you thinking?”

Our first day we embarked on a river raft trip down the Snake River. I was all stoke for this until we actually got to the river. All of a sudden, I remembered the time I almost drown as a kid and I started getting really nervous. Not to mention that the entire boat contained young girls between the ages of 12 and 18. Then there were four women and on guide. In my mind I kept thinking, “Shouldn’t we have at least one more guide so if I fall in someone can help me back in, while the other guides the boat?” No, no more guides just Alex.

As we started off down the calmer part of the river, Alex was good as relieving our fears and told us he hadn’t lost anyone yet. This particular sentence wasn’t very comforting because I had a doctor tell me he had never had any problems with a certain surgery and guess what…I was his first problem and nearly died. So I kept thinking to myself, I will be the first of Alex’s “losses”.

I realized that as we conquered each wave, how I relaxed more and actually started enjoying it even though the water was only 48 degrees and I had lost all feeling in my right foot.

I came on this trip with three of my children, one daughter and two sons. I knew two of my children were the adventurous type, but my one son really surprised me. You could get a bracelet for jumping into the river at a certain point. He actually jumped into the water. My daughter was the first on our boat, which was not surprising, to jump in and my other son… He had to do it three times. I am not sure I would have been that adventurous at their age.

At one point my “safe” son was actually “riding the bull” at the front of the boat through the waves. This really surprised me. After we got on the bus, my younger “crazier” son informed me that he had ridden the bull through the lunch counter. This almost gave me a heart attack. I guess he figured it was better to do it and then ask for permission later. This kid will be the death of me.

By the time we ended the trip I was really wanting more river to conquer as was most of the girls. The whole trip was designed to get us out of our comfort zone and try new things. I was definitely out of my comfort zone and would in fact do this again. It was very fun.

That night we drove in to Jackson to play night games at the high school. I actually found this to be more out of my comfort zone than almost anything else we did just because of what happened there.

I am an extremely jumpy and paranoid person. Because of experiences growing up, I am extremely cautious when put in some situations. A couple of weeks before coming on this trip, we had a retired police officer come and speak to the girls about being safe and how to avoid bad situations. It was very informative and added to my paranoid nature.

While we were playing night games, I started to get really thirsty. I noticed a building by the football field where we were playing. I decided that I would walk over and see if there was a drinking fountain. Now it was dark and the only light came from a couple of street lights and some flashlights the kids had.

When I got to the building and noticed it was restrooms, I decided I was use the facilities while there. As I approached a door to see which bathroom I was at, a voice came out of the dark asking me what we were doing. I nearly died. I couldn’t see anyone and could only tell in what direction the voice was coming from. I knew the voice was not attached to anyone I knew so I was extremely startled. I explained that we were playing capture the flag and the person asked a couple of more questions. At this point I had a few red flags going up in my head. I decided to leave the conversation and continue on to my destination…the lady’s room. When I got to the back side of the building, I started getting more and more nervous. I realized that I had just put myself in an extremely volatile situation. I was behind a building, in the dark and a stranger knew I was there and I was pretty sure that a few or anyone even knew the stranger was there.

I decided to go into the bathroom anyway because at this point I really had to go and couldn’t wait. When I entered the bathroom, the light automatically came on, which kind of scared me because I was already on edge. I got in the stall and did my duty and as I was getting ready to go out of the stall, the lights went off. I nearly had a heart attack. I kid you not, I thought I was about to get involved in a smack down and no one would a hear a thing that happened. I stood there with hand on handle listening and waiting to see if I could hear anything.

After a couple of minutes had passed, I knew I couldn’t stay in the stall all night and that I had to come out. I slowly opened the door and tried to look in the dark for any movement. Because the stall door next to me was opened, it blocked any dim view I had of the exit. I stood there for what seemed an eternity before I finally shoved the stall door next to me hoping that if someone was on the other side of it, I would knock them out on impact.

After the door stopped swinging, I listened for noise and didn’t hear anything, so I decided to head for the exit. I took about four steps when the light came on. I stood there with a deer in the headlight look thinking I was going to see the perp in front of me who had shut off the light, but there was no one. After my heart slowed to 300 bm I realized it was possible that the lights were automatic in some way. This did not remove the fear I was feeling. I stood with hand on the exit door handle for about five minutes trying to figure out what I should do. Do I slowly open the door and look side to side or do I just bust out like the flippin’ john was on fire. I came to the conclusion that if someone was out there, they would be surprised by my bolting out of there and thus giving me an upper hand.

It was probably about 5 minutes before I had the guts to bust out. I swung that door open and flew out of there like there was no tomorrow, not looking what was behind me.

I later found out that this guy ending up being obnoxious and thus ending the kids’ night of fun. Which confirmed my suspicions of the guy to begin with. I shook for quite a while afterwards.

The next day of our adventures took us to a ropes course at in the middle of nowhere in Idaho. Here we would be facing our fears on a rock wall and zip line. I was really stoked for this and thought it would be fun. When we arrived, I soon noticed how secluded it was and how some of the trails were hard to see.  Now we had been seeing bear warning signs along the road, so in the back of my mind there was a small thought of perhaps running into one. As we were walking along this trail to a hidden pavilion, all of a sudden I see a giant brown head. I nearly dropped dead right there until I realized it was a brown lab. I told myself what a stupid idiot I was to get so scared and the chances of seeing a bear would be slim to none.

Well that fear was intensified when the advisors of the course told us that a black bear had just come through there earlier that morning. Geez! Are you kidding me? Now to add to the anxiety of the zip line, I was freaked out over seeing a bear. My mother’s cousin was mauled by a bear in Alaska and the story was published in a book. I had been reading this book earlier this year and decided that I would never come within 100 yards of an Alder bush. This whole book was about grizzly bears coming out of Alder bushes.

When we finally got to the rock wall, I was nervous but I had done a rock wall a couple of times before so it wasn’t too bad. It was when I got to the top and realized that the only way down was the zip line. I don’t know how I had ever talked myself into this, but me and heights have never been bff’s and it wasn’t about to start this day either.

I stood there in almost a frozen fear of how high I was and how it was intended for me to get down. I shook as the advisor hooked me up to the zip line, thinking how stupid I was to agree to this. We were at least 30 feet in the air and one had to walk out on this plank that was no wider than 2 feet and perhaps 2 1/2 long. It looked like 4 inches square from where I was standing. I climbed out on the plank holding on to the telephone pole behind me like a stinkin’ cat. I stood there with everyone cheering me on and trying to get up the nerve to go. I just could not get myself to jump. I kept telling myself to do it and just get it over with, but I couldn’t. Then I looked below and there stood my two sons, yelling at me “You can do it Mom!”. I knew at this point, I had to jump. They had to see that their mother was not a wuss.

I truly believe I passed out on the jump because it was a blur and then I am pretty sure I woke up the entire community of Driggs from my scream. I screamed, and screamed and screamed. Was it fun? In a sick sort of way. Would I do it again? Not entirely sure. As we were leaving the course to go to the cars, it was getting dark and I realized I was on a trail that was surrounded by what looked like Alder bushes. I nearly plowed over those in front of me trying to get to the cars. If there was anything that scared me more than that dang zip line, it would be something coming out of those bushes and getting me. So did I face my fears? I felt like I was the entire trip. Do I think I handled them well? Perhaps some of them, others not so much so.

So my first two children were girls. Girls were so much fun.  I could dress them up and they got along most of the time. Rarely did I have a smack down between the two of them. My next two children were boys.

Boys are an entirely different species all together. When my boys were younger, they got along great together. Better than the girls. As they grew into teens, I started noticing BIG differences in their behavior. I am not sure where in the genetic code of humans that the burping and farting in public gene mutated in males. This is hard to understand as a female and one that I will never understand. For some reason the teenage…and I might add, older aged male, seem to think this is the best way for impressing the babes.  Let me put that myth to rest right now. That would be no.

When my youngest son turned 13 something changed. Not only did he change, but he passed whatever he had on to my son that was 15.  My polite 15-year-old son suddenly started farting wars with the 13-year-old.  Two years later despite my constant nagging things have not changed.

This is not the only problem with teenage boys.  The burping and farting they are constantly doing seems to drown out common sense or deadened it.  I am still not sure which.  I truly believe they will do anything to embarrass me even if it isn’t on purpose.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my boys and they make me laugh everyday. They are hilarious, but they come with horrible side effects sometimes.  Take my trip to town a couple of days ago.  We came to a store where they were selling newspapers outside of the door.  I am sorry, but I hate this.  I hate being  jumped at a store door without an exit route.  I have told these guys over and over that I do not want a newspaper.  As I sat in the car looking at the front door and trying to figure out how to get into the store without getting a sales pitch, my son says this “I got an idea, I will just go up and “pants” him and then when he is distracted you can go into the store. I bet he will never want to sell anything to you after that”.  After I recovered from envisioning this scene, we opted to go through the garden area and avoid him altogether. I wasn’t sure my son wouldn’t try something.

Amongst my purchases at this store was a toilet plunger. As I am getting into the car, I find that my car has a new hood ornament which took some doing for him to get it off after he put it there.  I seriously counted my blessings that I saw that before I got going down the road.  Once we get going down the highway he then proceeds to stick the plunger on the roof of the car to pretend it is a police siren, you know like in the movies. I had to put up with this for 7 miles.  With my neighbor driving right behind me the whole 7 miles.  Then he has the nerve to tell me that he wants to make a bow that will shoot one. Guaranteed, I will be the first to get it in the face.

Then the other day we went into a store. I was stuck there with him again despite the many times I have told him he is not coming with me ever again.  We came out of the gardening area and started down an aisle where we both saw this really cool green glass looking ball. We both reached for it at the same time to feel it. After touching it we realized it was plastic and that is was a toy ball.  My son quickly  grabbed it and started reading the label.  “Hey”, he says “this says this ball can bounce 150 feet in the air, I don’t believe it”.  As soon as the, “I don’t believe it” came out I knew he was going to see if the claim was true. The first words out of my mouth was, “Don’t do it”.  He must have turned off his “hearing aids” and decided that not only was he going to bounce it on the floor, but he better make sure he gives it enough power that it will do what it claims. He was standing at the top of one aisle and I started down another aisle just as he bounced it.

I looked up to see the ball go through the ceiling tiles.  This was a good 30 feet up.  The ball hit those tiles just right that it lifted them up and turned them enough that they fell out of the rim they were sitting in and came down on his head.  I personally did not stick around for the whole thing to play out.  When I saw the sky falling, I wasted no time in disappearing.

My first thought…”Dang it, they just saw everything on security cameras”.  My second thought, I am getting out of here before they realize he belongs to me.

When my son finally caught up to me, he begins to complain about the paper cut that one of them gave him on his face.  No, “sorry mom, I should have listened to you”.  No, nothing.  It has been 3 days and still no apology. Perhaps someday when he has a son I will get an apology. Because despite my hopes for change, I think the gene will mutate in his future sons also.

Home remodeling is not for wusses.  During my growing up years, there is only a couple of houses that I recall not being involved in a remodeling job of some sort.  My mother had this innate ability to take something ugly and make it beautiful.  I remember one particular house that I went with them to look at.  I remember walking into this four walled container of fecal matter and telling my parents that I would not move into that house if they decided to buy it. It seriously looked like someone had urinated on the walls or something in the front room.  The toilet was so disgusting.  The house smelled horrible.

My parents bought the house because they got a great deal on it.  I moved in kicking and screaming.   The house did have to be cleaned up before we moved in which helped a little bit.  When my mother was done with it, it was beautiful home.

I will be the first to tell you that I hate remodeling.  Mostly because I hate things being in chaos and it would eventually lead to not having a bathroom in the middle of winter. Utah winters in the past were not kind. You would sometimes have to plow a walkway to the car through 3-4 feet of snow. This year it has been 3-4 inches.

When my grandmother passed away, the doctors did not want my grandfather living alone.  He was pretty feeble.  So my mother and father sold our home and we moved into my grandfather’s house.  It was a two bedroom, 1 bathroom home.  There were 5 of us.  My parents made do until we could remodel the home to have 3 more bedrooms and a bathroom. See, I told you all remodeling leads to being without plumbing at one point and time.

This remodel job started in the summer and went into the winter.  My grandfather had a greenhouse that he had made that was in his backyard about 200 feet away from the house.  When it came time to install the new toilet, shower and sink, the water had to be shut off to the bathroom.  My father built us a porta-potty of sorts in the greenhouse for privacy.  Unfortunately it was in the winter and we had a lot of snow.  I remember a few mornings making the trip out to the greenhouse dreading the frostbite I was getting braced to receive.  This makes you pretty tough.

I am about to “out” my mother on this and may she forgive me.  I did not understand her situation then like I do now that I have had four children.  The birth of children seriously damages anything related to the bladder and the lack of control thereof.  Did not understand this at that time.  I am a lot more sympathetic of her situation now.

One particular morning when our bathroom was still located in the great outdoors, she woke up and had to go out to the “greenhouse”.  She realized as she got up that she had to go pretty bad and wasn’t sure if she was going to make it.  She had a pretty steep flight of stairs to go down and realized when she got to the bottom that there was no way she was going to make it without having an “accident”.  So she made an executive decision to just step off to the side of the steps and go. She hit a patch of ice which caused her to go down along with her pants.  Even now, 25 years later, I still laugh at the picture this paints in my mind. I envision Bambi when he first stepped on ice.

Now thank goodness Google wasn’t around to do a drive by “shooting”.  I would hate to find her on a Google map search somewhere.  I could not stop laughing that entire day.  I had graduated from high school and was at home so I was stuck there painting all day.  When it would get quiet…you know the 7 minute lull….I would envision my poor mother in her predicament and start laughing.  She would just look at me and give me that “I know what you are thinking about look” and then proceed to tell me that she wishes she would  have never told me what happened.  Well today I almost had the same experience she did, only I kept my pants on and ice was not involved.

The first house my husband and I lived in had to be completely remodeled for it to be livable. I decided after the 10 years of that that I would never remodel again. I will paint, but I won’t tear the entire house apart. So for the last couple of months, I have been giving my walls a fresh coat of paint after 7 years.  Today I decided that my children’s bathroom needed a new look.  I have unfortunately been smacked with the short stump and am at a huge disadvantage at reaching ceilings, let a lone vaulted ceilings.  I have not to this day spent money on a step-ladder.  That is probably why I have nearly died a few times.

Today I had the can of paint on the bathroom sink and I was standing on the side of the tub trying to paint around the ceiling.  I had a chair in between me and the sink so I could just step around to make things easier.  I stepped on the chair with one foot to reach the paint can and for some reason the chair slid, thus causing me to do the splits.  I am sure even when I was a baby that I could not do the splits. I am not genetically built for them.  My sister tried forcing me once which, quite frankly, I was lucky I could still have children afterwards.  Anyway, as the chair slid I felt the muscles pulling in places that no woman wants muscles pulling.  My daughter and husband was on the other side of the house discussing bikes and handlebar tape.  I yelled for help, groaned for help, prayed for help.  No one came. I managed to grab on to something and get myself pulled back together. I had a flashback to when I was 24 months pregnant with my youngest son (not really, but it felt like 24 months), I went to kick a ball and missed.  Couldn’t walk for weeks from a pulled groin.

I do not think that I will be walking the same after today. There is something about pulling the groin muscle that just messing everything up.  I nearly crawled into the kitchen to where the beloved family with hearing problems were.  No comments like, “sorry, we didn’t hear you” or “are you OK”.  All I got was laughter.  It haunted my ears as I am sure it did my mothers years ago.  Why did I even tell them.  Everything you do as a teen comes back to haunt you as a parent.  At least I was within the privacy of four walls and my pants were stretchy.

So the saying “Jumpier than a one-legged man in a butt kicken contest” could not describe me more.  I don’t like being scared.  Nothing is worse than watching a scary movie and having someone scare you just before you are “supposed” to get scared or having someone come up behind you unexpectedly.  I had an incident that happened to me a few years ago that almost ruined my life as I know it.

I used to walk religiously at 6:00 a.m. everyday, 6 days a week.  Never missed.  With this came the ability to recognize cars and know when they pass.  Most of them would pass me at the same time of morning.  One particular morning I was walking and I came upon this really sharp corner.  I heard this truck coming and I knew how this particular driver drove.  I decided to cross the street rather than run the risk of this kid hitting me on the inside corner.

As I crossed the road and turned the corner, there sat a car that was not supposed to be there.  I immediately recognized it as a car that should have been passing me about 30 minutes later from this time.  I didn’t realize that someone was in the car until I walked by.  Thanks to the crazy kid driver in the truck, I was not forced to walk directly by the car, I was  on the other side of the road.  When I realized someone was in the car and it was parked behind some piles of dirt, things started feeling weird to me.  All the hairs on my neck started standing up and I knew that something was not right with the situation.  I immediately pulled out my cell phone and called me sister who lived across the street from me.  My husband was at work and I needed someone quick.  While not letting this guy know I suspected anything, I kept walking in the same direction.  He pulled out and turned the corner only to turn around and come back up the street behind me.

I held my breath and walked as fast as I could, all the time waiting for my brother-in-law to show up.  The car drove by me slowly and as soon as it was a hundred feet or so in front of me, I turned and hauled butt so fast that I nearly sat the road on fire.  My brother-in-law was just up the street and got me just seconds from the time I turned around.

I learned from this experience to never be predictable in some situations.  I also have become extremely jumpy and I blame a lot of it on this situation and also from a lot of break-ins or attempted break-ins to the homes I lived in as a kid.  I have many weapons by my bed and my husband is scared to come into the house unannounced.

Well, tonight he unexpectedly got me real good.  I think he knows when he can scare me and not have the carp beat out of him as opposed to, “I know better than to do it to her now”.

We were going to go look at a couch a lady was selling and my son was riding with me, while my husband was riding with our neighbor.  We were at our the house just getting ready to leave when my sons says, “Mom, did you check the car to make sure no one was in it?”  I told him no, that dad had just been in the Durango and I knew no one was in there.  “Still”, he said, we should check.  This was more for his benefit I think.  He turned on the inside light while we sat in the seats and looked behind and then turned off the light.  All the while telling me that I should check things like that. While we were thus having this conversation, unbeknownst to me, my husband had walked up to the truck and knocked on my window.  It was dark outside and I could barely see him.

Can I just say that I absolutely needed a new pair of pants.  I nearly jumped into my son’s lap.  My husband was lucky I wasn’t packing any “heat”.  We were a couple of miles up the road before my heart stopped pounding.

This little side effect I have has been a joke in the family.  A couple of Halloween’s ago, I was at my sister’s house and we had just got done doing the whole trick-or-treating thing.  We walked out the door to leave and me being completely stupid did not notice when my husband opened the door that my nieces husband was hiding in the back seat with a mask on.  I was laughing and joking with the family and jumped in the car.  No one else got in.  I wondered for a split second what was taking them so long.  I looked out my window and then turned to look at the driver side door to see where my husband was, when I came face to face with “The Mask”.  I screamed a blood curdling scream, leapt out of the car nearly slamming the nephew in the door.  This nearly killed me.  I cannot begin to tell you had long after this incident I shook.  The closest thing to a near death experience he and I may ever experience.

Try as I might, I cannot overcome this problem.  I just get more weapons to add to my arsenal.  I really don’t think this is helping the situation.  A jumpy woman with loads of weapons is an accident waiting to happen.  Perhaps someday I will be the one getting the last laugh.  Perhaps…..

Why I Love My Kids

Today was a very stressful day.  In the area we live in, we have been receiving a lot of rain instead of our usual snow.  It made for some very scary roads.  This morning the sun had come out and the roads were wet, but not icy. Or so we thought.

My daughter came home from school yesterday telling her father that her car acted like it was overheating.  So this morning he put some antifreeze in it and took it for a spin to see if the problem was taken care of.   He hit an unseen patch of ice and totaled her car.  He is O.K., but the car was not.  My husband was so broken hearted to have to tell his daughter what he had done to her car.

Kids have this ability to be so resilient when as adults we worry ourselves into the ground.  I happened upon the following entry that my daughter wrote in her blog.  I have to share it with you because it brought a huge smile to my face during an extremely stressful time and put what is really important into perspective.  My family.

Arianna’s Entry:

RIP, Sparky

BENSON, Utah- 1996 Dodge Intrepid “Sparky”, 16, met his demise Jan. 20, 2012 after sliding across an icy road and slamming into one heck of a mailbox post. His bumper was torn to shreds, his lights were shattered, and both of his airbags were ejected. Due to my family’s inability to pay for his medical bills, he was euthanized at Cache Valley Metals the morning of his accident.Sparky left us with a rich legacy of driving into ditches and growling like a hungry grizzly bear. He was a morose individual, always snarling unhappily when his engine came to life, skittering across the road when the snow was falling. Sparky hated winter and winter hated Sparky. He would be glad to realize that he no longer has to deal with snow again.Sparky was adopted my junior year in high school after my parents’ Intrepid exploded on their way to get him, thus, forcing them to bring him home. He was a carefree car at one point of his life, his power steering ripping you across the asphalt, his engine a gentle hum.

The day that he first drove into a ditch and had to be pulled out by a tractor was the day when part of Sparky died. He’s never been himself since.

Sparky and I had many adventures together, such as driving to BYU on the freeway for the first time and that time when I ripped off his BYU tramp stamp with a spatula. He got the nickname Sparky after his battery died at Steve’s house and the jumper cables nearly electrocuted poor Steve. His battery failed him two times that night. I thought I would lose him.

How Sparky could have looked in his glory days.

He is survived by me, and I don’t know how I’ll replace him. We’re all as broke as the Sphinx’s nose around here, but we’ll find some way to make do.

The world will be a lot more quiet without Sparky around to growl at it.

Here’s to you, my dear friend. May your axle be straight and your engine a proud roar in car heaven.

Game On!

For Christmas every year, we buy one or two boardgames because we love playing games as a family.  Every Sunday night we have what we call Family Home Evening and we have a lesson on gospel topics and then we plays games and have treats.  Everyone takes turns doing different things.  Family Home Evening is not Family Home Evening with the games.  We take turns picking a game and spend the night laughing or fighting if it is Pictionary.  It never fails, something about Pictionary brings the worst out of at least one person.  If you put my two daughters together on a team, guaranteed you have your work cut out for you to win.  It is like they can read each other’s minds or something.  The family joke, “Hey, I feel like fighting…let’s play Pictionary”.   Pit is also a family favorite.

This year for Christmas I found one of the funniest games.  It is called Redneck Life.  I bought it at www.newegg.com.  That was the cheapest place I found.  They also offer an expansion pack which is worth the extra cost to buy right off. This game is based on The Game of  Life only it is in redneck version.

You shake one or two dice (depending if you are using expansion pack) to see what grade you graduated from.  Then a payday comes with that education and a job i.e. Monster Truck announcer, bouncer, bass fishing guide…etc.  You roll the dice to pick your spouses name.  i.e. Big Belle, Corndog Pete….

The first time we played we were all depressed because you automatically go into debt.  You have to buy a house and a car etc.  Throughout the game you have “accidents” that make you loose teeth.  The object of the game is to see who has the most teeth at the end.  There are factors that determine this at the end.  You can gain some teeth back through various ways.

The worst part of it for me was that I ended up with 34 children and 31 of them were all named Darryl and had red hair.  This forced me to buy enough vehicles to get this family around.  There is a space you land on where you can take the kids to the babysitter (babysitter being whatever player you choose) and “forget” they are there.  Then the babysitter adds that many more kids to their kid list.  By the way, each kid you have takes away $10 from your payday.  So if your payday stunk in the beginning, it really stinks if you have a ton of kids.

We have laughed so hard during this game.  Tears streaming.  The first time we played, I landed on a square that said, “Your parents didn’t want you when you were born and left you at the hospital, start over”.  This pretty much sucked, but I did get even at the end.

This is a hilarious game.  I had to edit some of it for my kids (they are 14-19) just because I didn’t feel it was appropriate for our home but it is stuff you can work around.  The cars and houses that you have to buy are actual pictures of real homes and vehicles.  I would hope that people don’t live in things like that or drive things like that, but I have an uneasy feeling that they do.

If you want a fun game to play, this is it.

So with yesterday being the last day before everyone went back to school, we wracked our brains trying to find something to do as our last “hurrah”.  After a lot of thoughtful contemplation we decided to have a Nerf gun war.  Feeling like I do today, I wish I wouldn’t have suggested it. We got all of the guns and ammo together and found a place for the war.  We sat up the bunkers and made up teams.  After the first round we decided that the teams weren’t working for us so it suddenly became a “free-for-all”. I realized after about 45 minutes why they suggest you wear protective eyewear.  I was hit in the face 4 times.  I nailed my son right between the eyes once and just as he turned around his sister shot him in the forehead.  Ears were impaled, and heads were shot.  Nothing was sacred people, nothing. One thing that has been a problem with me for years is that if I get laughing, I quickly become immobilized.  I lose all strength in the body and can do nothing to protect myself.  This is a huge weakness of mine and it has been used against me many times. Yesterday was no exception. Some of the Nerf ammo has velcro on one end.  I shot my daughter in the butt and the ammo was just hanging there.  She could not deny I hit her, the proof was there waving to the world. I started laughing so hard that I couldn’t pull it together.  In my moment of weakness, my son shot and hit me in the tooth.  That was it.  I fell to the ground unable to move because I was laughing so hard, tears flowing.  It took me a good 10 minutes to get myself back in the game. Not once was I able to be “King of the Ring”.  I never could get everyone out so that I was the last person standing.  I seriously need to brush up on my skills.  I have to admit I pwned on loading.  I could load and shoot faster than you can say “Bob’s Yer Uncle”.  I had to, I was an easy target for everyone, which pretty much sucked. It has been decided that the war must have a second, third and fourth round at least.  I have to admit, despite the pain…it was pretty fun.  Next time…game on.  I am showing up looking like Rambo.  There will be NO survivors. Someday I will have to decide to grow up…but today is not that day.

Where Does It Go?

I have two sons that could eat anyone out of house and home.  When either one of them turn sideways they disappear.  One of them is 6′ 2″ by 6.2″ the other one is 5′ 6″ by 5.6″. So I am not sure where it all goes.  I think I lost my good metabolism on them when I gave birth to them.  Probably like most boys they are ready to eat again not even after 1 hour has passed after a meal.

Unfortunately I am at that state in my life that I am so over cooking for the “masses”.  I would rather graze than dirty a dish.  Take this morning for instance.  I tried to make apple pie turnovers…..  After the first turnover, or whatever it looked like, I decided to do a pie instead.  Hoping it would be more successful.  I spilled apple chunks all over the floor, cornstarch down the front of me.  The container that had my cinnamon and sugar mix had a hole that  it went all over the floor.  I spilled flour on the floor and when I tried to put the crust on the top of the pie, It looked like the worst plastic surgery nightmare ever.  I threw the pie and the one turnover and some pie crust cookies in the oven and proceeded to clean up my mess.

I managed to burn the pie crust cookies and my apple pie blew a hole in it that leaked down in the bottom of the stove causing plumes of smoke to infiltrate all parts of the house.  I have had enough of cooking!

After doing some waste of time housework, I decided to work on some homework.  I was about as frustrated with that as I was with cooking and was about to throw in the towel.  My 14-year-old son comes in and asks what is for lunch.  I really tried to avoid the question because let’s face it, I retired from kitchen work today.  I told him to give me a minute to finish the exercise I was on and I would try to find him something to eat.

Not even 5 minutes had passed and I hear him moaning, “I am starving, must have food”.  Then in his comedic style he starts carrying on the following conversation with himself:

“Maybe I will have to go in the back yard and dig in the holes for mice with Sport (a neighborhood dog that pretty much scrounges up its own food and has for years).  Or maybe I could go eat some weeds.  Oh, or maybe I could go look for the cow leg the neighbor’s dog had the other day.  It might still have some meat on it.  Hopefully I won’t have to go find the dog poo I threw over the fence yesterday.”

At this point I was laughing so hard, I was crying.  I could no longer ignore him.  I finally had to succumb to cooking again.  Wow….he really knows how to manipulate me.

I drew this picture of my handsome sons.  I know I don’t do them justice, but I hit the physique just about right.  Unicycle shirts and all!