Thursday, November 26, 2009

Being Thankful

I'm not blogging as much as I used to. I miss it actually because it means that I do not have the same amount of free time I previously had. I've probably lost readers, not that I had a whole lot to begin with. I rather enjoy having my writing acknowledged, even though I tell myself that is not why I am writing.

With today being the day Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, I decided to take advantage of this spare free time to set forth those things for which I am thankful. They are not in any particular order, just pretty much however they hit me randomly.

First, I am thankful for my job. It is the reason I don't have as much free time, but I really enjoy the people I work with and I enjoy the challenge it is bringing to my life. I am realizing that I need to put up boundaries so that I don't make what is supposed to be part-time into more than full-time. There is plenty of work to do that and I do so like to be of service. I have realized though that by trying to do so much causes me stress as I try to keep the rest of my life in balance. But I am indeed grateful to be trusted by people I respect to do a difficult job.

I am thankful for my family. Between my work hours and Neil's work hours, our family time has become more rare, but of better quality. Alyx came and spent the afternoon with us. Her visits are rare and random, and I realize that she has a life that doesn't really revolve around hanging out with her dad and step-mom. I do enjoy when she is here. She is growing up into a beautiful young lady, both physically and emotionally. She is intelligent and thoughtful. She brings peace with her which is a wonderful change from the drama queen who used to be forced upon us. I am thankful for her maturity. The older boys are still immature, but I see great potential. I am amazed that God has allowed me to be with such amazing boys. They are so close in age and yet so different in personality. They are equally annoying and helpful. Aaron and I share a bond that is forged from a tumultuous experience from his early years. In some ways, he is my confidante and my advisor. Derek on the other hand is a completely different relationship. Although he is my step-son, I have not yet figured out what that relationship really entails. He has always been very respectful towards me, but lately, I sense a great deal of love emanating from him. Perhaps he is finally realizing that loving me and being loved by me does not in any way violate his relationship with his biological mother. I always get a hug from him before he leaves for the evening and I am grateful that he feels comfortable enough with me to show that affection. Daniel is still my baby. At times I wish he would grow up but I do so appreciate his sensitivity to situations and others' feelings. He is in that awkward stage of pre-adolescence and as the true middle child, I worry about him feeling like he belongs. Perhaps that is why he turns to me so often - he does not have a close peer within the family and his friends are not always available. He is doing so well at school this year and I feel positive that he will adjust to middle school next year with ease. I am thankful for the peace I feel with that decision. Nicholas has become an emotional roller coaster lately. I suspect he is testing the waters as he tries to become more independent. He is so capable and has the potential for being a great leader. I have great hope that this current phase is just that and that he will come through it a stronger, healthier child. Cierra has grown so much this year. Being in kindergarten has been a great blessing in our lives. She is so smart and has made many friends in her class. She is helpful and has such a sweet, giving heart. Rachel was put into pre-school when I started working. She still tells me she hates school, but the teachers say she is very involved and happy when she is there. I love listening to her sing and talk when she thinks nobody is listening. She is very articulate and I know she will be ready for school when the time comes. She still is very much my little girl and I am thankful that she allows me to cuddle with her.

I am thankful for having found the Charter School. I like that the children have small class sizes and get better immediate attention. I am grateful for their association with the pre-school so I only have one stop in the mornings and afternoons. I appreciate the school's Christian values and am comfortable with knowing my children are getting both temporal and spiritual development while they are in the school's care.

I am thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for my membership in His church. I know that I would be a mess if I didn't have this to direct my life. I am grateful for the Savior's atoning sacrifice and all that His act offers to me.

I am thankful for having a home, even though it has been almost a year now that we have been unable to make the mortgage payment. I know it is through the Lord's blessing that we are still here and though it often feels like we are in limbo, I have always been at peace with knowing that things will happen in the Lord's time. I am grateful that He has seen fit to keep us here for this long.

I am thankful for my bed, which is where I am now headed. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and had the opportunity to reflect on your own blessings.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Secret Life of Prince Charming

I finished this book finally. I haven't had as much time lately for luxury reading and I borrowed the book at least 2 months ago from the library. It was in the teen section and it had a cute title and would be a quick read, or so I assumed. It should be a quick read, but only if you have time to sit and read.

The premise of the story is figuring out love. It hides behind an adventure trek taken by two sisters, a step-sister, and a boyfriend's brother as they return items taken by the father from women with whom he had had relationships. But the journey is more than just returning the items, the girls find themselves learning things about their father they probably didn't really want to know and forging a bond that could not be attained any other way.

Mixed in the story line are excerpts from what you might assume are journal writings from the various female characters in the book which revolve around love and relationships. There appears to be an underlying search for truth.

Overall it wasn't a bad book. Okay on the entertainment factor and doesn't require any truly deep thought. It wasn't good enough for me to care about what the future of the characters might hold and I was not emotionally caught up in the characters, their quest, or the plot overall. What I did get out of it was a bit of disappointment.

When we talk about love and relationships, I get that people should try to avoid those that feel like love but in reality are just user relationships and a waste of time. I've had my share of those experiences and I understand why you stay in them. It's not because you're afraid of being alone and it's not because you think you don't deserve better. It's because you don't want to give up on the relationship prematurely. The book claims that love should be easy and peaceful. I'm not sure that you can generalize love like that and claim that if it doesn't fit into that context then it really isn't love. Relationships take work. They consist of two people with their own set of baggage from past relationships which have influenced who they are now. And not just love relationships, but family and friends and business relationships.

I would not want my daughter to read the book and think that anytime a relationship got hard it meant that there was no longer love or perhaps never was love. It shouldn't be all one-sided - both people need to be giving and compromising and loving. If we give up or walk away anytime it gets hard, then what do we learn? How do we grow? Having it hard isn't necessarily a bad thing. You just can't generalize love.

Ask for "The Caran"

I get strange requests often enough that I generally don't blink an eye anymore. I'm pretty much game for anything and am not easily offended or embarrassed. I blame this mostly on my involvement with scouts. But even I have never really thought of myself as being overly note-worthy or celebrity-styling. Apparently, I was wrong.

I was picking up kids from school on Thursday, and I was talking with a couple of other parents in the parking lot when a lady came over and asked if she could take a picture of my hair. She quickly explained that she needed a haircut and had been looking at mine for the past couple of days and really liked the layered effect. I had no problem with the request though had a slight weird feeling, which I chalk up to the request being made in front of other people. So she snapped a couple of pictures to take to her hairdresser and my friends teased me about being a "celebrity" haircut.

Week Ending November 15, 2009

It's late and I ought to be in bed, but realized I've got 2 weeks of catching up to do. In all reality, there hasn't been anything of great interest going on. It continues with school, work, scouts, church, and activities all in random order. Everybody has been sick, then better, then sick again. Nothing too bad, really, just enough to make you slightly miserable and irritable. The days are getting shorter and it gets harder and harder to get up at 5:30 even though the alarm going off across the room is annoying beyond belief. It's across the room with the idea that if I have to get out of bed to turn it off, I will stay up and moving. Usually it works, but occasionally I am tempted to slip back into bed and pretend that it's Saturday.

The kids all had the 11th off for Veterans day but both Neil and I worked so it wasn't much of a holiday. I am getting close to the wrap-up for popcorn and am hoping that it all works out quickly so I can be done. I've already given my notice to the district that I won't be doing it again next year. I've done it for three years and it's time to let someone else have the experience. Mostly it's because I should be doing my student teaching next year at this time and I don't want to have to worry about additional stress.

I was tempted to stay home from church today. It seems to be getting harder to want to get up and go. I'm not sure why, because I do feel so enriched when I attend. Today was no exception. I was able to be in Relief Society today and the lesson was on the testimonies others had of Joseph Smith being a prophet. It's not something I've ever given much thought to. I guess I've just always accepted it as a part of the truth of the church. I mean, if a guy is going to just make up a whole new religion, wouldn't he be more likely to follow conventional wisdom rather than going out on a limb and expecting people to accpet completely different thoughts about the attributes of God. New religion wasn't exactly new at that time. There were a lot of churches and pastors and preachers proclaiming the truth of their interpretation of the Bible. Why not just stick to what was already being done. Stick with the Bible and just add a few of your own interpretations. But Joseph Smith introduced a whole new book of scripture and brought to light the idea that the Godhead is indeed three separate beings with a common goal and purpose. If you're going to claim you saw God, why not just stick to seeing God? But Joseph not only claimed to have seen God, but Jesus Christ as well with God introducing Christ as "mine only begotten Son." Not exactly what you want to throw out there if you're making up your own religion and expect people to jump on board. It just seems like a bit much for a 14 year old boy with little education to come up with all on his own.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Week Ending 11/1/09

I realize I never wrote last week so I guess I'll just highlight the last two weeks. For the most part it has been pretty average. Cierra was invited to a birthday party on the 24th so I dropped her off then took the other kids to do some shopping. Aaron needed some pants for the Homecoming Dance and Daniel needed new church pants. Neil had left Thursday night after work to go Elk Hunting. He got back Saturday night and we skipped church on Sunday because of it being Stake Conference. The little kids are not yet at the point where they can sit for two hours and I don't like having to worry about them being bothersome to others. Maybe it's the wrong attitude to have but that's my life.

This past week was Spirit Week at the elementary school. Daniel enjoyed dressing up on all the days and Nick went about half and half. Cierra wanted nothing to do with crazy hair, hats, or being backwards. She did, however, enjoy wearing her pajamas on Thursday and getting to wear her Diamondbacks t-shirt on Friday for Sports Day. Neil had the whole week off for the hunt, but didn't end up going back up until Wednesday. He had no success in getting an elk, but did get a coyote. With him home, I was able to go in to work earlier and stay later, which was nice for the pocketbook, but of no help for my house. It's been all I can do to keep up with laundry and dishes on that front as the rest of my time is spent helping kids with homework, doing my own schoolwork, and attending various school and scout activities.

I was able to watch Daniel's football game on Tuesday and our Tiger Den went to the Fire Station on Thursday. Aaron had come home Wednesday not feeling well and developed a fever running between 100 and 102. He stayed home Thursday and Friday. Friday was a half day at school for the younger kids and I had planned Cierra's birthday party for noon. That was a great time for her and her friends. Daniel had 3 Halloween parties to attend Friday night and Derek wanted to hang out with friends. So we did a lot of running around and finally got to bed shortly before midnight.

Saturday Neil and I had a staff development for a Wood Badge course we have been asked to help staff. I get to be a troop guide this time and he will be the ASM - Programs - meaning he gets to be the cubmaster on Day 1 and then help out behind the scenes the rest of the time. Kids had all made plans for the rest of the day. Derek wanted to be with friends to hang out and Aaron was going in another direction with his friends. Daniel and friends went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and then planned on going trick-or-treating. He messed that up by not being outside once the movie was done as instructed so he had to stay home with dad and pass out candy. He didn't really miss much as the younger three kids went out scrounging for treats and brought home at least 4 times as much candy as we handed out. He probably got the better part of the deal because he didn't have to walk around and get cold, got candy anyway, and got to see all the different costumes.

The two little girls woke up with fevers and runny noses, Aaron is still hacking up lungs, and Neil had a headache, so we decided to skip church and hopefully keep our ward family members healthy.

Well, on to another week.