Tears of Joy

Going back and forth between houses is never easy for kids. I’m so glad Taevia, Tahlia, and Theia enjoy the time that they spend at their dads house. I know they miss him and like being over there. This time, when Taevia got back – before bed – she said that she wished she was back at her dads house. I asked her why and she said “because dads house is fun.” She was very upset and crying. I sat there for a second just thinking. She doesn’t always do well with bedtime and her being tired stresses her out even more. We had already been talking about why she was originally upset. 15 minutes before she said it was because the boys are mean to her. (They had been in the past a little bit but we’ve talked to her and them about it and all of them are getting way better with each other. They hadn’t been mean at all that day. I think she’s just holding onto the previous stuff)

I was starting to get frustrated because it was feeling like she was just cycling through things to be upset about to get her to stay out of bed.

So I sat and just thought about it all for a minute.

This is what I told her –

“Sometimes… people are mean in this life. Sometimes, it is our job to be the good example and show them love. You are going to meet people in life who will not be nice to you. You need to be strong. You are strong. It is not my job as your mother to make life fun. We will have lots of fun times together. But my job, as your mom, is to make sure you grow into a woman who is kind, who loves God, and loves her family. Not only are you my daughter, you are a daughter of God. That makes you a goddess. That makes you royalty. You have to stand tall and stand firm and show others the way to kindness. I promise we will have fun together but my job as your mom is to make sure you grow into this strong woman who loves God and loves her family.”

The next thing she said was “I’ve never cried tears of joy before!”

Oh my daughter. You teach me so much. Our kids need to hear these things. They need to hear that sometimes life is hard but we can stand tall and stand firm and our faith will pull us through. I’m so thankful that I paused instead of allowing myself to just get frustrated and make her go to bed.

After that, she went right to bed and slept through the night.

Parenthood isn’t easy but it is oh so worth it. I’m so glad she chose me to be her mother. I can’t wait to find out what else she has to teach me.

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my beautiful Taevia

Christ Heals All Things

You hear the phrase ‘Christ heals’ all the time, right? Do we really know what that means? Usually, when we think about healing we think of big miracles. Healing the sick, making the blind see, etc. Am I right? I could be wrong. But that used to be how I viewed this idea. The only way I saw this.

I was wrong. I think I’m a little closer into understanding now though, Christ heals all things.

I don’t really know why I’m writing about this – other than I feel like I should. Maybe it will help someone else understand too.

If you’re not LDS, bare with me. I think there’s still some good stuff here.

Anyways – I was inactive from the church for nearly 16 years. During that time I started drinking coffee. I liked coffee. I liked the taste, the ritual of drinking it every morning. It became a comfortable habit to have. But I was addicted. No question about it.

When I decided to come back to church, I gave up coffee. It was my choice and it was one I wanted to make. I believe the Word of Wisdom is there to help us, make us healthy, make us strong, and develop other healthy habits. It was not an easy habit to break.

I would drive by a coffee shop and a thought would enter my mind such as “one coffee wouldn’t hurt anything”. But you know what, it would. Because if I wanted to be able to go to the temple, then even one would hurt.

You see – those thoughts – those are thoughts of addict. The adversary will and does use anything he can against us. Even little things. Especially “little” things. Because those little things are small concessions. Each small concession gets you one step further and further away from where you really want to be. Those little things end up being a really big thing later.

Now let me tell you something simply miraculous. As soon as I had that temple recommend in my hand. Those thoughts vanished. The idea of wanting coffee – gone. The thought of drinking coffee actually kinda grosses me out now. I don’t want it.

CHRIST HEALS ALL THINGS

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I never thought that I would live out a scripture passage. But weak things definitely can be made strong. I fully believe that I will never again have the adversary use coffee against me. That addiction is gone.

I never would have ever called myself an addict either. I mean, it’s not like drugs or alcohol…. right? Wrong. There are so many possible addictions in this life. Thankfully, Christ can heal them all. Even the little things.

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Testimony Sunday

When I knew that I wanted to come back to church, I worried that I would be judged because I have tattoos. There are LDS people that have tattoos, especially nowadays. But I still worried because I have noticeable ones. Ones that I can’t hide unless I wear long sleeves all the time and shoes that cover the top of my feet. I worried, until I found the Tattooed Mormon’s blog. Her name is Al Carraway. When I found her blog, my thought was – “If she is this popular with mormons, I can walk into one church.” My point in telling you this is that she has also posted that everyone should bear their testimony every fast Sunday – even if it’s just to yourself. Ever since I read that, I’ve thought it’s a great idea. Because our testimonies should be growing and changing and evolving all the time.

So here’s my first one –

I know without a doubt that this Gospel is true. When talking to my mom last week, one of the things she said was “exciting things started happening the moment you committed your life to the Lord”. Boy, was she ever right. I was thinking about my life since I made the decision to come back to church. I knew I wanted to before I made the real commitment but that commitment has seemed to open a door to the Devine that I really had never thought possible. There is no doubt in my mind that God is real, Christ is real and risen, and the adversary is very real.

I have had numerous experiences in the last year that has proven this to me time and time again. One of those was when I had the flu, I was stuck in the bathroom (tmi, I know) for hours in the middle of the night. I felt awful and I was so tired. I finally said a prayer telling my Heavenly Father just that. That I was tired and I just wanted to go to bed and sleep. I immediately felt this real physical calm wash over me from head to toe and my whole body calmed down. I felt fine. I stopped and paused and thought “maybe I should just sit here for a while and make sure” and then my next thought was “nope, I’m going to go lay down while I feel this good and if I have to get up again, I have to get up again” but I didn’t. I slept the rest of the night and felt just fine by morning.

God’s grace is real. God’s grace is amazing. And a lot of times, most times, it’s not a big flashy thing. It’s as simple as – now I feel well enough to leave the bathroom and finally sleep.

We all have this grace in our lives. I see it in mine all the time. It’s when we get too busy, too distracted, too caught up in the world that we don’t see it for what it is. Because most of the time, it is these small things. People tell me all the time how overwhelmed I must be with 10 kids. And I do get overwhelmed. I get stressed. I feel really busy most of the time. But it is only by God’s grace that I really don’t feel overwhelmed most of the time. I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I know that I can find joy in the busyness that comes with having 10 kids. I know that I can teach my kids to find that joy in their lives no matter what – because of God’s grace.

I love this Gospel. I love my God and my Savior. I love what this Gospel has brought into my life. I know that my life has been guided by God since the moment I was born and I am (maybe slowly) learning to let God have the reigns completely. My job in this life is to be still. To listen. And then to act upon what I know and feel to be true and to let God decide and lead me where He wants me to be.

I say these things with all the love in my heart, in the name of Jesus Christ – amen.

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Can’t hide the tattoos. And that’s okay!

Memorial Day

I think I let the kids stay up late too many days this weekend. I had some super cranky kids on my hands today. We’re going to have to figure out an appropriate summer bedtime soon because some of these kids still need plenty of sleep to be happy little people!

Live and learn.

I am super proud of Ethan. He was nearly done cleaning his room today (which he shares with 3 of his brothers. Which is also how they want it. I offered Ethan and Vaiden their own room downstairs but they didn’t like that idea, so sharing it is!) Anyways, he was nearly done cleaning the boys room and I noticed the neighbor having some trouble with something big over the fence in his back yard. I commented to Ethan that it looked like he needed help and he should go offer to help him. He immediately put his shoes on and went to offer some help. Well it turned out that the neighbor was trying to remove a stump and was planning on using some black powder to do it. Ethan was all over that! He ended up staying out there for about an hour helping to dig and move stuff around. He did get $10 in the end so it was a win – win in his book. Explosives and got paid!

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I snuck outside to snap a photo. So proud of him for just jumping in to help!

After Ethan was done helping the neighbor, we ate lunch and I made 9 of the kids get into the car. We drove 45 minutes to go to the Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

I haven’t really done anything for Memorial Day in the past. However, this Memorial Day – I am married to a Veteran. My husband served in the Army for 20 years. I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am that he survived those 20 years. Because I am so thankful, I am even more aware that there are many others who do not have their loved ones with them today because of the sacrifices that they made.

John‬ ‭15:13‬ says Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Christ gave His life for us that we may be saved and brought home to our Father again.

But it can be easy to forget that we have men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for God, country, their families and friends and so much more today. This isn’t a story book or a history lesson. This is life today.

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None of the pictures the guy took for us turned out with everyone cooperating lol

While we were there, I asked the kids if they knew what Memorial Day was for. We talked about why all of these people died. Phalin all of a sudden said “My dad was in the Army! But he didn’t die” I responded with “Yes! And that is why we are here to say thank you.”

I gave each of the kids 3 little flags and told them to go find a gravestone with no flowers or tokens that have been left and give them a flag. We walked through reading names and talking about where they had been stationed.

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Some of the kids were confused as to why we would go if we didn’t know anyone there. I explained that it was more important that we are thankful for everyone – not just those we know. In Gods eyes, every one of us are family.

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I love watching each of their personalities. How they respond to things, how far they’re willing to wander off, who wanted to talk and ask questions, who placed all of their flags then came back to get me to show me where they placed them. All of these little things show me a glimpse into who they are and it’s so so fun.

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My tiny dude

We got home, did a few chores around the house, kids played, ate dinner and then we did a few sparklers and pop-its. The kids had way more fun with them than I expected and I was lighting sparklers one after the other and didn’t get any pictures of it. But they had fun – I promise!

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throwing pop-its

I honestly never imagined that I’d be a mother to so many. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes, I yelled at them to stop yelling (irony) and fighting in the car on the drive back. But those little things, those momentary fights, arguments, growing pains, boundary pushing, etc. Those are moments. They pass. This awe at watching them grow, these glimpses into their personalities and potential, this love that grows day by day and minute by minute. That will never pass or fade. This is what I want to focus on. What I want them to remember.

I want them to remember to love each other. To love the people around them. To love strangers. To be thankful. I want them to remember that I love them. And if we can accomplish these things, we’ll be good.

And just so you know it’s not all rainbows over here – bedtime was crazy. Just like every other family. 😉

Sundays Are My Favorite

I woke up this morning and remembered that Tahlia was supposed to give a talk during primary at church today. The talk was supposed to be on how Prophets teach us to live the Restored Gospel. I did a little googling but didn’t really find what I thought I was looking for. I decided to play some music while I got ready for church and went to turn on Pandora. When I unlocked my phone, I had a thought that I should listen to an old conference talk instead. I almost ignored the thought and then thought to myself “no, I told myself that I would listen and act on any promptings no matter how small”. This has been taking a lot of effort. I mean, you wouldn’t think so right? But man, it’s so easy to just jump right into habits – like listening to Pandora. It takes real effort to stop, listen and make that choice. Even with these seemingly tiny things!

Anyways, getting way off track here. Back to the point. I brought up my LDS Library App instead. I went to the conference talks section. I didn’t really want to listen to any recent ones since I’ve been listening to those pretty often lately, so I just swiped up on my phone and let it scroll down. As it scrolled, I randomly touched my finger down and stopped it. I stopped on October of 1999. I clicked on that and scrolled through the talks. “Spiritual Hurricanes” jumped out at me. So I clicked on that one and hit the “play” button.

Wouldn’t you know it… here was everything I needed for Tahlia’s primary talk. I quickly wrote out her talk while I was getting ready, went and talked with her about it and we were all set!

Here’s how it went –

Just like weathermen and storm watchers who keep people safe from danger, our prophets are our spiritual watchmen. They help teach us to be like Jesus, to protect our spirits, to prepare, to read our scriptures, to pray, and to choose the right.
They tell us what our Heavenly Father wants us to know.
Amos 3:7 says – surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
If we follow the prophet and listen closely, we will know what to do!

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my shy girl!
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love her!

Yep, I snuck a few pictures while waiting to help her give her talk. I tried not to get other kids in the photo, that’s why it’s so off-center. I never know how other parents will feel about me posting photos with their kids in them so I always try my best to get photos with only my kiddos in them. It usually works!

Today, this same little girl told me that she wasn’t sure if she believed in Jesus because her dad keeps telling them that he doesn’t. This broke my heart. I told her how much Jesus loves her, that He is very real, that He lives and that He can’t wait to see her again someday.

If anything, this definitely strengthened my resolve to focus our lives on Christ as much as possible. Sometimes, it’s one comment, one negative moment, etc that will stick in your mind more than a hundred positive ones. We know this to be true with everything else in life. It doesn’t matter how many people tell you that you’re capable, brave, strong, fearless, pretty – anything! That ONE person who says you’re not. Who puts those thoughts of doubt, negativity, or sadness into your mind – our minds latch onto those. We play them over and over in our heads. We focus on them. On why they would say those things. Why they would believe those things. The negative always feels bigger than the positives a lot of times. And for kids, this is so hard. I am determined to override my children’s minds with Christ. I want them to know without a doubt that He lives and loves them so unconditionally that no comment will ever cause them to doubt this fact. Don’t worry, we will get there.

Sundays are my favorite. I love getting my kids into church. I love going to church. I love singing the hymns. I love being able to participate and take the sacrament. I love sitting in Gospel Doctrine and Relief Society. I love coming home and making (okay sometimes forcing) my kids to take a break, relax, watch inspiring movies, read the scriptures. I love reading my scriptures throughout the day and being interrupted by the kids while I read. Because this means that they see me read my scriptures. Does everything always go perfect on Sundays? Of course not. I mean, there’s a lot of bribes that go into getting so many kids to sit and be quiet during sacrament meeting (and jokes aside  – the bribes don’t even work half the time) but we go. Till the end of my days, I will thank my Heavenly Father for the opportunity to take my kids to church. Because going from being inactive and raising kids outside of the Gospel to coming back and seeing them in the Gospel. It’s different. It’s good. And I’m so so thankful.

Thankful

What I left out of Friday’s catch up post was that I was feeling stressed and a little overwhelmed that day/night. When I woke up on Saturday the kids were already arguing and fighting. I had to separate a few of them more than once, make kids hug, talk about how we should be speaking to each other nicely, and one had to go in a timeout to cool herself off. This was just the morning. It hadn’t even hit 10am yet.

Now here’s where I should probably tell you that I’m a horrible homebody. I don’t like being stuck in the house for too long. It makes feel almost claustrophobic. And when kids are fighting, it just makes that feeling even worse. So my next thought was “I need out of this house!” I kid you not, not ten minutes later, my dad texted me saying a coworker of his had tickets to the color festival that she couldn’t use and asked if I would like them.

Now get this – I actually had the audacity to think “Do I really want to take the kids out of the house today?” And then my next thought was “Are you kidding me?! You just said this is what you needed and you got it. Take it.” So I thanked my dad, thanked his coworker and thanked my Father.

You might not think that God would care about little details like this. But He does. He so does. Our happiness is incredibly important to him! Even through our trials, through our tests of faith, through any hardships, He doesn’t want us to be miserable. There are so many instances in the scriptures where it talks about the righteous praising and thanking God all day long. Don’t think for one second that those people never had any trials. It’s that they thanked God regardless of those trials.

So we got out of the house. I felt better. The kids chilled out. Life is good.

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Alma 7:23 – And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.

So thankful that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me enough to know exactly what I need when I need it. And so thankful for a father who obviously listens to the Father.