Friday, October 24, 2014

Three Weeks

It's been three weeks since Sara passed away. Each day that goes by, the pain is the same, I think He just carries a little more of it. Someone said to me, "You will never get over something like that, you just learn how to deal with it."

It seems so wrong that she is gone. When I have a moment to stop and think, I picture her Mom and Dad, her husband, her sister and her children in the places we have been together, trying to go on. I cannot imagine their pain. Their tremendous pain is matched with an insurmountable amount of strength. I have seen it.

I love these words:

Nobody will protect you from your suffering

You can't cry it away
or eat it away
or starve it away
or punch it away
or even therapy it away

It's just there,
and you have to survive it.
You have to endure it.

You have to live through it
and love it
and move on
and be better for it
and run as far as you can in the direction of your
best and happiest dreams
across the bridge that was built by your own desire
to heal.

-Sue Fitzmaurice

I have learned that death is a part of life. Tomorrow is not promised. Death waits on no one. We do not know the time or place that we may be called home. Sara has taught me many things both with her life and with her passing. I have seen hearts softened, I have seen perspectives changed for the better. Grief is a real emotion that feels like a tremendous weight of emptiness. It can consume us if we aren't careful. Everyone must grieve in their own way, moving through the different stages at their own pace.

I am so grateful for my testimony in Jesus Christ, that I know I will see Sara again and that she is in a peaceful place forever. As I continue on this raw journey that is sometimes so painful, all I can do is let Him heal me, reach out to those who hurt and try to see the miracles that are here in front of us.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This Girl

Sara was born in July and then I was born in September. We were born into a large close knit family. There were four sisters, our grandmothers, who would rather be together than do anything else. It was a blessing for us because when they were together, the cousins were together. Sara and I went to elementary, middle and high school together. She was a year ahead of me.

We spent the better part of those years having fun together. We spent days and nights in her pool. We loved to ride the four wheeler, we rode it in the snow and in the summer. If you knew Sara, you knew that she was always laughing and being silly. We were on the four wheeler and she was looking back at me-laughing and she ran right into the fence. She threw us off, her mom saw the whole thing and almost had a heart attack. We were fine.

We baked and experimented with our hair and makeup, we talked about puberty, boys, ate ice cream and spied on Sasha, her older sister. We rented movies, went boating and camping together and Ted and Becki took us to basketball camps and games. We made up dances to pop songs and spent countless weekends together.

As we grew up, we both moved away (me farther than her) I had a million boys and she had some too. Distance and life got in the way. Our visits were more spread out. When we came together we picked right back up where we left off. I felt tremendous love for her and from her.

Looking back, I can hear her laugh and see her smile and those two things for me are the true representation of her character. Sara was love. She was fun. She was light and laughter and all good things. She was a phenomenal mother, her legacy will live on in those little boys forever.

As we went through these last few very very hard days, I saw the way that she touched people. I experienced her force for good as people came from every where bringing gifts for her family, all this while reliving her memory over and over in my mind.

The comfort I have is that as I continue to try to walk with my Savior and lean on Him, I know that I will feel closer to her. I know I will see her again. I know that she is with Him. I know that God lives and He loves her and He loves me. I know that He will put our family back together one day, person by person when it is His time. For that knowledge I am so grateful.

It will be a mighty reunion.

In the meantime, I will miss her so much it hurts. I will pray for peace for her family. I will think of her when I see a rainbow and when I hear a silly cackle. I will do everything I can to have our boys have some good times together, just like we did. I will hug my boys and slow down and thank God for the wonderful times we had together and for the lessons sweet Sara taught me.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Cason (aka CasDawg) – Cason has been busy this year. In addition to thriving in a challenging new academic program, he has gotten his Bear award in Cub Scouts, won the Pinewood Derby, beat out 9 other candidates to win his school’s Spirit Leader position and helped his basketball, swim and flag football teams be successful. Oh, and the boy has ploughed through more books than you would think humanly possible. Cason has really enjoyed youth fantasy books. In particular, he’s devoured the Percy Jackson series, plus 2 two more series by the same author and is finishing up the Harry Potter series now. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that he has gotten football fever something awful. He LOVES watching college football as well as playing backyard football and football video games. He has become a student of the game and can answer any question about the Clemson or BYU team.

Abram (aka Bumbum) – 2013 was a big year for Abram. He turned 8 and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in November. Although we are used to Abram’s excitable nature, Luder was blown away by Abram’s heartfelt exclamation right after the baptism “That was AWESOME!!” complete with fist pump. How can you not love this kid? Like his brother, Abram has kept the librarians busy this year. After some reluctance at the beginning of the year, his love for superheros combined with some strategically placed comic books led to a literary explosion. Abram’s reading level has gone off the charts. He has been very interested in the Magic Treehouse series, Marvel superheroes, as well as Greek and Egyptian mythology. Abram’s renewed focus on academics and growing maturity has really impressed his parents. He also won several races for his swim team, made strides in basketball/flag football and loves Cub Scouts. Oh, and ask him about his post-tonsillectomy conversation with Abraham Lincoln when you get a chance – it’s worth it.

Declan (aka Destructo) – Declan is the spunkiest kid you’ll meet. He is scary-smart and 1,000% boy. The only things he likes better than running/laughing/shouting/playing are his mom and his baby brother. He tells everyone that Silas is his best friend and he balks at any suggestion that they be separated. Declan’s mispronunciation of Silas came out “Wis” – which is what led to his baby brother’s aka below. Declan started a new year of preschool and really enjoys the social aspects of his classes. He loves to learn. Anyone who was at early Thanksgiving dinner in Fredericksburg heard his enthusiastic rendering of the Thanksgiving songs he learned there. Declan loves his primary teacher at church and looks forward to going each week. He also had a trial soccer practice at an indoor facility in Richmond so will be starting his much anticipated soccer career shortly, which is very exciting. Declan loves playing out back with his brothers, dressing up in super hero costumes and riding his tractor.

Silas (aka The Mighty Wis) – Silas is just a bunch of fun. His chubby cheeks bounce when he runs, his big smile make everyone laugh and we all stop and listen when he is trying new words, which is just about every day now. He has adapted well to nursery at church, and by that I mean he has suckered the nursery leaders into holding him. He’s going through the clingy stage, which is always tough but at least Ginny knows she’s loved. He loves balls – when he says “Tetch!” you’d better be ready – and cars. He doesn’t like being alone. He’ll often get caught up in his playing, realize he’s the only one in the room, and then go searching for his brothers. He’ll do anything Declan asks and – sometimes unfortunately – quickly mimics what he does too.

Fidesco (aka ‘Desco) -is still very much a part of our lives even though he moved to Louisville KY Oct 27. While he was here, he swam on swim team, played basketball and football, went to Boy Scout Camp and earned his Tenderfoot award. He continues to go to church and Scouts in KY. He goes to an all boys school there. He is coming “home” (his words) for the holiday to be with us in RVA. We miss him dearly.

Ginny (aka Boss Lady) – Ginny has been her standard Wonder Woman self this year. She volunteers at church including leading frequent activities for a large group of very active 8-11 year old girls. She is always feeding/cleaning/comforting/encouraging four little boys who adore her, performing random acts of kindness as often as she can and doing all this without sacrificing her famous smile, fashionista style or supermodel appearance. And that’s just the stuff we know about. One of the fun firsts this year is that Ginny made an excellent Thanksgiving feast for our family. Ginny realized a few weeks ago that she had children in soccer, basketball, music lessons, swim team, SCA and scouts, all in the past year. She is really happy about Luder’s switch to Capital One. Really happy.

Luder (aka Big Poppa) – Luder’s big change this year has been embracing life after the law firm. Although he’s still adjusting to the new schedule, it’s fun to watch him take a vacation day and try not to twitch the whole time. Luder has also rededicated himself to learning more. He wants to attack the classics and has read several books that he’s not been able to finish in past years. So far he’s read Oliver Twist, The Art of War, Common Sense and several others. He’s hoping to knock a few more out before the end of the year.

Overall, 2013 had its share of challenges and trials but we feel like we’ve done a better job at keeping a Christ-centered perspective than in years past. We’ll take that as a huge accomplishment. We are very grateful for our faith, friends and family in good and in bad times. We are honored to know you and pray that you will be able to focus on the Reason for the Season throughout this Christmastime and on into the new year.
With Love,
The Miltons

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tough Love

     I once heard the quote, "Friendships are born and friendships die." I tend to agree with part of that idea. I believe that true friendship lives on, it lives through death and it lives over thousands of miles of distance and passing years of inattentiveness. The friendships that die are the ones that taught us for a time and allowed us to move on to something better.

  At the beginning of this month I lost a dear friend. Our friendship will live on and when I see him again, I have a few things to tell him. I will share with him that his life and passing has changed me. I hadn't thought of how much he meant to me, until he passed.  I now focus more on being in the moment with my children. I think of everyone that I am around as truly a brother or a sister. I have wondered a hundred times why it takes the death of someone we love to soften us to the core and be who we truly should be?

  As the month progressed, I learned that this sweet child pictured above, who is like a son to me will be moving far away. Tonight I saw the bus ticket, yesterday I saw the sofa being loaded onto the truck.

  Fidesco was a six year old tag along nephew to a young woman that I served six years ago. She moved away and he has been with us the majority of the time since. We have grown so close that my children call him their brother. I know what he likes to eat, wear, what embarrasses him. I know when he is having a bad day before he speaks. I know how he sleeps, what scares him and what makes him smile.

  I have worried about him physically, spiritually and academically for the better part of six years. I was blessed to know when he was in trouble or afraid without anyone telling me when he wasn't with us. I have prayed for him and hoped for his future and none of that will stop now, even though he will be far from me for a time.

   I have learned so much from serving him and inviting him to be so intimately involved in our family. Most of the lessons are too personal to share here but let's just say that I could write a book.
The biggest lesson I have learned is that we love who we serve and by doing so we are blessed. I am blessed to have been loved by this child. My children were blessed to have an education in culture and love that reaches over socioeconomic and racial boundaries. They were blessed to learn acceptance and unconditional love and in return they were loved and truly experienced joy.

  We will keep in contact with him and I will not give up on the dreams I have for him. We will see what happens but I trust the Lord and I know He has a plan for Fidesco and for our family and for now that's what is giving me peace.

Christmas Card 2012


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Our New Family

Meet Silas.

March 14, 2012
These were all taken in the hospital.

Four reasons why, when I die, I can say that I have left this world a better place.

Silas' Birthday Story

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Silas Keane Milton
 born at 6:31pm,
8lbs 2 oz, 21 inches long.

Meeting the big brothers around 8pm

Silas on his way home.

On Tuesday, March 13th, I woke up after having painful contractions during the night for two nights in a row. Labor had not developed from the pain so I decided that it may still be a while. I dropped Declan off at preschool and headed over to the OB for a regular appointment. My official due date was Thursday the 15th. I had also decided that I would probably be late because I was with Cason and he was the only other child whose birth was not induced.
So, at the appointment, my doctor said I was 3.5 cm dialated and 80% effaced. I was relieved because I was progressing. I was 2.5 and 60% the Tuesday before. We talked about induction plans if I went over and I shared with him that I would really like to have the baby come on his own but that I would not last for weeks feeling the way I was feeling.
He told me that I was tolerating the pregnancy so well, with such a positive attitude. I left the doctor, called Mom and Luder. I thought of all the things I could be doing but I felt like I was pretty much ready for the baby. My bag was packed, laundry done, dishes clean, groceries bought. I decided to go get a pedicure. It was a gift from Carol to celebrate the baby's birth.
I got the pedicure, picked up Panera, picked up Declan, dropped off a gift to a friend who had just had her baby and I went home. It was a gorgeous day and after lunch I decided to take Declan to the park. At the park I talked to Dad and we decided in a couple of days I should have the baby.
Declan and I headed home and I put him down for a nap. I began to get ready for the boys to get home from school. Carol called and wanted me to come outside to receive some things so I headed out and as I was talking to her I felt a little pain and it felt like he was dropping into my pelvis.
I told her that I had better go sit down before I went to the bus stop. She told me she would get the boys and for me to just go rest, which I appreciated. I went inside and decided that I would start tracking my contractions just for the fun of it with a new app I had downloaded the night before. The boys came home, I helped them get their homework done and the contractions kept coming. After several contractions and a few I couldn't talk through, I texted Luder that he should be on alert. He asked me if he should come home and if I thought today was the day and I said, I could still go for another week and I just needed him to work from home if the pain was too bad to take care of the children. I certainly did not think I was in labor because I had experienced the same pain already in the night and I didn't go into labor. I got the boys situated and laid down. I was sweating and nauseated and having painful contractions that were about 10 mins apart and somewhat irregular. I called Luder and told him to go ahead and come home. He was home about 15 minutes later and by that time it was around 4 pm and I had had about 15 contractions since 230p. While he was on his way, my Mom texted me and I texted her back that I was having some irregular contractions. She got excited and I got worried that everyone was going to be all worked up over nothing. Luder came in and I could tell he was concerned and trying to be patient with me because I wanted to just rest in my bed and he wanted me to call the doctor, get a shower possibly and get ready to go. I agreed to take a shower just in case. He called our friend Pat and his Mom and in the meantime Mom called and said she was coming and she didn't care if it was false labor. Patti said she would come too. 
I took a shower, contracting the whole time. I called the doctor and told him the contractions were about 7 minutes apart but pretty painful. He said to call back when they were 5 minutes and painful, which I did about 15 minutes later when the contractions went to 3-4 minutes apart.
He said to come in, so we waited for Pat and at that point I was thinking that maybe this was it. I was also afraid to think that this was labor because I didn't want to be disappointed if it stopped. Pat came, I gave her a hug and we left. On the way I called Cindy to ask her where I needed to enter the hospital. We went into the ER. NO ONE was there to help us. Not one single person. Luder yelled into the back for someone to come and finally someone came and even though I was pre-registered they still needed me to register. Why is that, by the way? So, I was breathing through some pretty hefty contractions but still smiling and they eventually brought me a wheelchair and ran me to the L&D floor after I told them this was my fourth child. Luder stayed behind and finished registering me and I think he parked the car? They took me to a labor room and I didn't see a soul. I sat on the bed alone in my street clothes contracting and thinking. Eventually one nurse came in and handed me a gown, told me to put it on and give her a urine sample. Was she serious? She left. What if I had this baby in the bathroom? The pain was mounting. I held the sink and I yelled to her as she left that I wanted my doctor. Things were moving fast and I could feel it. The most glorious sound I heard was a few moments later, Dr. Rinehardt's voice outside the bathroom in my room. I told him that I was so glad to see him. He checked me and about that time Luder came in. He said I was at 6 cm. I said, So, I am in labor and he laughed and said, "Yes, you aren't going home without a baby!" 
A new nurse came in and started prepping the room. Luder, the doctor and I began to talk about an epidural. I was starting to really feel the pain and I thought I had a lot of time. As we spoke about it, I had some more painful contractions and I decided to order it and I could turn him away. It was around 545pm that all of this was happening. He came in shortly after and gave me the epidural. It kicked in right around when it was time to push. The doctor checked me around 615 or so and said I was complete. About 3 pushes later, Silas was out and in my arms and it was the most peaceful, painless, quick delivery that I have experienced or could imagine. I love my doctor, he came in when I got there and didn't leave until I was stable and holding my baby. As in, he didn't leave my room the entire time. Who does that? My nurse was so awesome, she promoted all the alternative things I wanted to do during delivery and was happy to help me breastfeed right away.
So a little part of the story I left out was that right around the time I was at a nine my Mom comes running in, she looked like she had been through quite a lot. She had gotten lost, I think she even ran and if you know my Mom you know that she doesn't run. She made it though, she got into the room with about 7 minutes to spare. She was happy and excited and stressed and a little emotional. It was cute.
After he was out, my mom and Luder started texting pics and taking pics and I looked at the clock and blinked a few times after admiring my sweet baby. I was in shock. Pure shock. I could not believe what had just happened. I was in the hospital about 1 hour. I was just outside talking to Carol, I thought. This was insane and wonderful all at the same time.
We laughed about how I could have had a home birth if I would have "stayed and rested a little while longer" like I wanted.
Before I knew it, the boys were on their way with Patti and Carol to meet their baby brother. They came in around 730 or 8. They were so excited and happy. All they did was smile. Declan said, "Why is mommy dressed like that?" He saw the IV's and blood pressure cuff. He didn't like it when the nurse took my blood. He was concerned about that but still happy to have "his baby." Cason said that he felt like crying as he held Silas. Abram just smiled and jumped around a little. It was a beautiful night and I think we were all shocked and so happy.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Every Time

This song reminds me of my son, my Savior and a miracle that has changed me forever. Listen while you read.

Everytime I prepare to give birth, I feel a very similar way. I feel so many emotions. We joke that the hormones are responsible for these intense feelings. I would argue that while that is true, there is so much more to it.

To be a witness of a miracle so personal, so humbling and so tender is hard to explain. Sometimes I am overwhelmed, that I might be a part of God's plan. The plan he has to create life, to increase families and their capacity to love. Women learn as they suffer through the wild ride of pregnancy to love the suffering because of the beauty that it ultimately brings. The pain of labor turns into a special memory that binds couples together.

As I prepare for this baby boy to come to me and to us, it feels like a rolling river of emotion building inside. All emotions are felt. Anxiety, humility, fear, complete joy, impatience, patience, reflection, deep love for my husband, children and especially for those who have gone before me. There is a closeness to God that I have never felt before.

After a time of preparing for our sons, working so hard day and night, there is a time when I slow down. I feel time is getting close, I begin to envision the moment when I meet him and hold him for the first time in my arms. It comes naturally to begin to listen to more calming and meaningful music. To look for the light in the world, to begin to think about the protection from the world that I want to offer my newborn son.

Hallelujah. Praise God for this miracle. Praise God for letting me be a part and for blessing me with health and strength and those sacred moments to reflect and catch a glimpse of the Father's love for us.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Maternity Shoot

So in February when I was 37 weeks pregnant, my friend and I went to Belle Isle in Richmond to archive the pregnancy. I really didn't want to have pictures taken. It really stressed me out, I don't feel beautiful when I am pregnant. In fact, I won't share with you how I feel but I wanted to have these for me for later and for my posterity so I made myself do it. I am glad I did. I enjoyed Maddy's company too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy 10th Anniversary, Luder, I love you.

October 27 2001, Washington DC Temple
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The man I love.

  How do you put into words the love that has changed you? Growing up, I always wanted a family. I wanted a companion and someone to share my life with, someone who would care for me. As I became a young adult, there was a realization that it would be hard to find the person that I could imagine spending forever with. 
   Looking back, my mind is flooded with memories. Memories of building our life together as a young married couple, of precious time surrounding the births of our beautiful children. Memories of graduating at the same time, building our life in Richmond and of many many blessings and trials that our marriage has withstood.
  As I reflect, I am brought to tears and laughter. We have truly had so much fun together. I don't know where I end and he begins anymore, nor do I care. I have grown to rely on him so much and the only thing I would change about us right now is that I wish I could see him more.
  I am so proud of him, no one knows the person that I see. That is the privilege of marriage I suppose. He is a dedicated father, I have rarely seen a father like him. He puts everyone else first. He loves the Lord and has a rock solid testimony. He amazes me with all the kindness that he wishes people, even people that are unkind to him. He is patient.
  What touches me the most is the way he loves me. He tells me that I am beautiful and would never say otherwise. He supports everything I do. He would give me anything I want, knowing that I would never take advantage. He is my best friend. We can talk for hours and there is nothing I would rather do than ride along a country road with him, discussing our dreams.  
  I am so grateful for this blessing from Heavenly Father and can't wait to see what the next 10 years will bring us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Parents-tell me, is this normal?
I have a kindergartener and a 2nd grader. When the oldest child was in kindergarten, we decided to have my husband take him to school (because I had just had a baby) and he would ride the bus home. I became acquainted and annoyed with the school system's transportation rule. The rule is, if you have a kindergartener come home on the bus, an authorized person must be at the bus stop with their legal ID every single day. If you go to the bus stop to get your kindergartener on the 100th day of school (bus driver has seen you 99 times before with your ID) and you do not have your ID, the bus driver will take your child back to school. Leaving you at the bus stop, probably in tears and leaving your child on the bus, pulling away in tears. This never happened to me but it causes great anxiety for a mother everyday around 2:00pm.
As I thought about this, I thought to myself-1. I am glad that they don't let kindergarteners off the bus alone, that they check and make sure the person is authorized etc (even though they make mistakes all the time) and 2. I have legal custody of my child, it's my child and you are telling me that a stranger (bus driver) has the authority to drive away with my child, taking them back to school, all because I, as the parent, registered MY child for kindergarten and allowed them to ride the bus and forgot my ID one time? This is silly.
Back up to May when I registered my 2nd child for kindergarten. I did some research and found out that there is a waiver that I can sign to have my child get off the bus without the ID everyday. I wanted him to get off the bus with his older brother, we live about 40 feet from the stop, I can see the stop and they can see me. I would be outside, watch them get off, walk about 20 feet to where I would split the difference and all would be well. I wouldn't have to get in my purse everyday, pull out my ID and walk to the stop and sit there for who knows how long. Seems like a good plan to me.
So, I signed the waiver and on open house night, I spoke with the Vice Principal or resource teacher about this, on the first day of school I sent an email to both teachers of my children and I was at the bus stop with my ID just in case.
It's a good thing because they had NO idea about any waiver I had signed. So, I spoke with the bus driver about the situation, showed my ID and went into the house with the children and called the school. They said they would handle it.
It's now the third week of school, the bus driver still calls my son the wrong name and looks like he's confused. Yesterday, I was at the stop (because I am too nervous to not be there and because I like to watch them come off the bus) and the driver told me to come over to the bus. "WHAT NOW!" I thought as I walked over.
He had a copy of the list of people that I turned in to the school that are authorized to pick my child up, like my child's grandparents, my best friends that could help if I was in a pinch. He told me that I had to take one of their names off and replace it with Cason's name. Right. So I should take a responsible adults name off the list and add a 7 year olds name. Ok. And, they also said at open house that if you don't put yourself on the list, you can't pick up your own child.
So, I called the school again to ask if this was correct. After they laugh and agree with me that this is ridiculous, they do some research (talk to the Dept of Transportation) and call to tell me that the driver is correct and they will be sending me a new authorization form to fill out in my handwriting to add Cason and take someone else off.
I forgot to mention that they wouldn't let my sweet little kindergartener get on the bus the first day to come home because his name tag said his middle name (which he goes by) and not his first name. He had to argue and tell them his full name, at 5 years old.
All of this is silly. This is all because they do not want to get sued. How far have we gotten from caring about the children and putting them first because we are afraid of a lawsuit or being fired? Where were the mother's and parents when they decided all of these rules and procedures of our PUBLIC school system? Where are our rights as parents? More and more red tape is added each year. You should see the amount of releases I have to sign to have my child at school.
I am tired of it. I love the teachers that my children have. I really like the school and I think the staff and principal are wonderful. I think they care.
I don't know where the breakdown happened or why I have to go through so much just to have my children return home to my open arms when I, their mother, am physically there every single day.
Who else has this policy?

Monday, August 8, 2011

You Did It, Elder Cason

 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has asked all males at the age of 19 years old, who are able, to serve a full time mission. These young men dedicate two years of their lives to a mission. They are assigned to any possible part of the world where their service is needed. They teach people about Jesus Christ, they provide manual labor for free, they baptize and bring a message of hope to those who are willing to hear.They do not see their families for two years, they do not talk to them on the phone or text them (with the exception of two phone calls a year, one on Mother's Day and one on Christmas). They are not paid, they actually have to pay for everything themselves. These young men serve the Lord willingly and do nothing else for two years.
Scott is the the first missionary in our family to serve The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no way to adequately describe the change that happens to these young men when they go and serve. Some people say that they leave a boy and come home a man. I have seen the blessings of a mission. My husband served a full time mission in Costa Rica and I benefit from it everyday. I have also been blessed because of Scott's faithful missionary service.
  This was always a dream I had for my little brother and I know it was his own dream. As he began to prepare and the time was drawing close, some people did not understand why he would want to go. Why would a 19 year old boy want to leave family, college, dating and the comforts and safety of home to talk to people about God?
All I can tell you is that I have seen his life change, as he changed the lives of others. He has written home and shared with us the many miracles that have happened while he has been away. He has walked the streets and met people who were hopeless, taught them that there is hope in this dark world and through this, he has changed them forever. He has performed hard manual labor, helping communities in California. I have seen the mile long hills he has had to climb in 100+ degree weather on a bicycle with a pack on his back. His life for the last two years has been filled with purpose and dedication. He has been in leadership since he began his mission and through this, he has learned many valuable life lessons.
I have never heard him happier, than he has been these past two years. Although I wasn't able to talk to him regularly, his mission strengthened me. It blessed my family. It increased my testimony and changed me forever. I am so proud of him and I love him.
He did it! He did it!

To learn more go to:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mother's Day Tea

So, for the past several years, I have had the great privilege to go to a Mother's Day Tea at the preschool where they honor Mother's. It is a special day. What touches me the most is his excitement. He is so excited to finally be able to do something nice for me and make me feel special. I love the little write up they do, they ask them our name, our favorite food, how old we are and the answers are so funny. I think this year I was 15 years old and my favorite thing to eat was casserole. He also said if he had a lot of money he would buy me a beautiful necklace. I love the opportunity to see myself through my child's eyes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Today I am grateful. I am grateful for a family that loves me. I am grateful for a warm home with food and the ability to create things in my home that make us happy. I am grateful for my faith and the freedom that I have to believe what I want to believe. I am grateful for my sweet little children who are each uniquely wonderful.
I am grateful for my parents who have made me who I am today, for all that they do for me, for the way they love my children more than anything else. I am grateful for girlfriends and good times. I am so grateful for a man who loves me and brings out the best in me and even though he absolutely drives me nuts sometimes, I wouldn't trade him for anything or anyone.
What are you grateful for?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You do not know your strength until it's tested. You do not know the capacity of love until it's tried. You do not know how you will respond in a crisis or how it will feel until you are there. You do not know who really cares until you are alone.
Does everyone feel as old as I do? I feel young at heart and yet I feel as if I am 100 years old in wisdom. I wonder if people 50 years ago felt this way? It's as if every morning I wake up, I step onto a battlefield of choices. You may say that sounds dramatic or depressing. It is neither. It is reality. I choose to focus on the positive things in my life, the bright moments. I believe it would be easy to look around and list off all the suffering, there is so much but I want to look around and take note of all the miracles. I want to stop and stare at my children and take in the moment and have it forever. I want to rest my tired body on the soft cool grass and watch the stars. I want to have the strength to lift another and avoid the next opportunity to judge them.
I heard someone say, what you focus on grows. It has.

Friday, October 1, 2010

July 2010

I love my family. I have this aunt, (far left) and for some reason, we are more like sisters than aunt and niece. She is my Dad's younger sister by 14 years. We look alike. She is the South Carolina version of me. We have a great time together. We have three boys, blond hair, similar in so many ways. She is a little ahead of me in life but we still have a great time together. I love her and her kids.
We went to visit them in July. She had just found out she was expecting their 4th baby, so we went down to check out their new pool and help cheer her up from her dreaded morning sickness. My Mom went with me. My Mom is also wonderful and she puts up with me and my children on road trips. I think she really likes it.
We are at the local peach farm with a petting zoo. It was comfortable to be in SC in July. We had a great time. Leslie's boys are so helpful and loving to my boys. I hope that my boys grow up to be as sweet and nurturing. I am looking forward to our next visit.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Technology "Break"

Seriously. In the last couple of months (more like the last month) my cell phone, camera, computer and printer all have died. I would say that I am pretty techno savvy. I don't cheap out and always buy the bottom of the barrel products and I do not let my children play with my technology. I take care of my stuff. Heck, I still have the first generation ipod and when the missionaries saw it, they mocked me openly and said it should be in the smithsonian...... thanks guys.
What is the deal? We so rely on these technology tools. They are expensive and is it just me or do they never work like they are supposed to? I am sick of it.
The only way I have made it lately because I know you are suprised but I don't have the funds to go replace it all at once, is to limp along with some of my parents old stuff (thank you Mom and Dad) and get a free phone, thus the comment on facebook about Luder's phone being better than mine.
A few years ago, it would have absolutely sent me into grumpville to have any one of these break. Now, I just try to think outside the box for temporary solutions and think of it as a little "break" from the world.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Business of Being Beautiful

So, I was thinking the other day....yes I do that sometimes, and I think that we as women have outsmarted ourselves. Men clearly haven't. Women compare ourselves to other women. We wear makeup, jewelry, accessories, purses and style our hair. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be a man. You get up, get your clothes on that your wife probably picked out for you at some point, take a shower, shave your face and do your job. 
I am not even going into the whole realm that some women find themselves in of endless working out, eyelash extensions, botox and plastic surgery.
If we, as women all did not wear makeup (no, I am not kidding myself, I don't think this would really happen, nor would it be good for the world necessarily) we could save ourselves a lot of time and money.
I am all for taking care of yourself but there should be healthy limits. I see women (mostly ones I don't know)  spinning out of control. Eating less, running more, more beauty products, procedures, more more more.   Maybe the men have it right.
For now, I am happy to boycott makeup on occasion, eat heathy as much as possible, get a little exercise and not worry about all that business of being beautiful.

Facebook. I am not sure how I feel about facebook. I like that I get to keep in touch with friends and family. I find some things strange about facebook, not judging, just observing. I think that most people have figured, if we can't beat them, join them. So, they are on facebook, lurking, commenting and posting with the best of them. I recently got a friend request from my Grandpa. I am glad to stay in touch with him via facebook, it's just not what I expected. Facebook has reached all generations, all people, sane and insane. I think it is interesting and sometimes funny when people choose to get on facebook and have an arguement with people they do not know. Talking with strangers about something that you have strong feelings about is not "smart" in my mind. I think we all end up there sometimes. 
The older I get, the more I am repulsed by drama. I would rather hide out, not listen and for sure not be a part of any drama that may be brewing. I don't have time. There are times when I want to write an occasional crazy or funny thought on facebook, then I think of the previous crazy status updates I have read and I cringe. I think to myself, "it isn't worth it."
I wonder how long facebook will last. What will replace it? Part of me thinks it's sad that we use facebook to get to know each other or to stay in touch. Really? Has life gotten that out of control? Appearantly, it has.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


It's official. I am Mom. I drive the van I said I never would, don't knock it. It has several DVD players, auto everything and I LOVE IT because it makes my life easier. I have three kids. It's more like, they have me. My life revolves around them. Everything I do is devoted to being a good mom and helping my children have the best lives. I know that I am imperfect and I sometimes wonder what they will say about me between the time that they "know everything" and then have their own children and "realize how smart and wonderful I was/am" like most new parents do.
Being a mother, I have learned, all has to do with balance. Emotional, spiritual, physical. Everyday I think about all these things. I focus on trying to keep all of us healthy in every way possible. It is also so important to have fun along the way. Luder has forced me to learn that and I appreciate him for that. He has me stop and just sit outside or take a walk in nature with the boys. We all end up feeling better. I get through life a lot easier with a sense of humor. If you can laugh about it, it makes it a lot more fun. So to all of my mini van driving sisters, the next time you want to die of humiliation in public because of something your kids do, laugh and live it up.