Wednesday, April 16, 2014

General Conference and Spring Break

1. General Conference. It was just what I needed. Spiritually uplifting, inspiring, and an excuse to relax at home for a weekend. I only require my kids to sit through one entire session. They are, after all, 2 hours long each. Most of Saturday they were doing other things, but did come and listen to bits here and there. Sunday I created key word treat jars. Put different treats with different key words (prophet, temple, prayer, etc) and if they heard the word they could go and get the treat from that jar. I've done coloring packets and things in the past, and I don't know if it's just that my kids are getting older- but this worked really well. They were really listening and at least knew some of the key concepts that were talked about. The overall takeaways for me were about loving communication, kindness, while standing up for truth and righteousness. One of my favorite talks was by Elder Teh, titled, "Where Your Treasure Is" When he spoke of visiting earthquake and typhoon victims in the Philippines. He said that as they visited people who were living out of tents in meager situations and asked how they people were, over and over again the response was, "We are OK". It just reminded me to keep things in perspective and remember how blessed I am.

2. Beautiful spring break weather. Last year for spring break I planned a "staycation" and had some fun activities I wanted to do with the kids each day. However the weather was so cold and/or wet it really messed up most of my plans. Most of the kid's friends were gone on trips to warmer locations, and so we couldn't even arrange many playdates. I remember thinking, "Next year we've got to plan on going somewhere." However, since we'd gone to Colorado for New Years, Disneyland in January, Jake to Mexico in February, and Jake and I to the Virgin Islands in March, Jake really didn't feel like he could take too much more time off. We still thought we might do a long weekend in Moab or something, but then we found out that Jake's brother and his family had spring break the same week and were coming down, and then his mom and grandma decided to come for a couple days too. So we decided we'd stick around here again. The weather was beautiful the whole week this time though!!! This week the weather isn't as nice again, but I'm so glad it cooperated to give us a nice enjoyable spring break!

3. Company for Spring Break. Like I mentioned, we ended up having family here most the week. Monday I took the kids to see Muppets Most wanted, which I had promised them I'd do (I figured it was a safe promise, cause it's something we could do even if the weather was bad), but then we had family here Monday night to Friday morning. They got to play with cousins, we went to the zoo, we took them swimming at the Kamas pool and we helped Rick's family look for homes. I even got to go with the ladies to swim in the crater which I haven't done for years. Friday they all left. Naomi and TJ went to play at Ferguson's in the afternoon so Jake and I could go to Park City Mountain Resort with Josh and Dekker. We had a fun time snowboarind (Dex skiing) with them. Then Friday night we had the Kearns family (who were in town also during their Washington spring break) over for dinner and they stayed the night before heading home the next day. It was a great spring break!

4. New couches. I also talked Jake into letting me buy a new sectional for downstairs. I've been wanting to for a while (we moved the other one upstairs and the OLD couches downstairs to make sure I liked the other sectional upstairs before replacing the old couches). Rick had said he really wanted to do a movie night in our new "theater room" and watch The Hobbit pt 2. I convinced Jake that it would be a lot more comfortable for everyone if we had a sectional that would seat a lot of people better, and that we could use our existing 1 year same as cash credit at RC Willey to get something. So I went to the RC Willey Outlet and found the perfect L shaped sectional on Monday (after I took the kids to the movie) and then Jake somehow fit it in his truck and brought it home, and when Rick got here he helped him move it in:)

Friday, April 4, 2014

my voice (updated)

I decided to respond to Kjerstin's email where she said she was not going to post my, or my mom's comments. I simply said it was her blog and she could do what she like, but I thought that censoring our comments contradicted the last two paragraphs of her post.

I saw today that she did in fact post both my, and my mom's comments. That made me very happy. Listening to all the voices and opinions out there can be exhausting, but it is important to try. Especially when we have established an opinion or voice on a specific topic, or if we are asked to be part of a conversation, it's important to step up and participate both on the speaking and listening side.

I think that's what I learned from all of this. I often shy away from such conversations because I don't like conflict. It is how we learn though. So it's important.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Because I have a voice too

I have an awesome niece named Kjerstin. Seriously. This girl could speak in complete sentences when she was two. She's always had spunk. Finished high school early, went on to college, and then got accepted to her Master Program of choice in journalism. Amazing, right? She's always had a lot to say and she's not afraid to speak her mind. Though I love her to pieces, we do disagree on a few social issues. I remember I responded to one thing a long time back, and later wished I'd said it better or not at all. Since then, I mostly keep quiet. In fact, with FaceBook being everyone's soapbox lately, I've chosen to keep quiet about a lot of things. I don't know if that's good or bad, but its what I've had to do. Anyway, she posted something on her blog the other day that I just could not ignore. At the end of her post she asked for openness and intelligent conversation. In the best way I could, I tried to respond. Apparently my mom did too, because later we both got an email saying she was choosing not to post or respond to either of our comments and she was bothered we both referenced her personal background. I was hurt. I spent a lot of time really trying to consider her words and tried to respond to them respectfully and honestly. Don't I deserve to have my voice heard too? I'm tired of biting my tongue just because I believe differently than someone else.

Here's the link to her post:  (Where you can also see some of her other works that I feel better demonstrate her skill with words)

And here is my response. Just so I don't feel so censored.

It’s late and I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because I kept thinking about your post, and I felt I needed to reply.
I want to start off by saying you are a smart girl and I can tell this/these are subjects that are very sensitive and personal to you. I want you to know that I re-read and really thought about what you’ve said. I’ve tried to read and really “listen” to your opinions. I hope you will do the same for me. Thank you for an opportunity to engage in intelligent conversation.
I want to only speak to your thoughts on the “pro-life” “pro-choice” subject. Here you have interwoven it with the subject of “marriage equality”. I see them as two very different subjects that should be treated as such. I do feel that often us “religious” folk are seen as hard-headed and lumped into a very conservative category who all think alike. I’d like you to reconsider that assumption. I for one admit that my opinions regarding same-sex marriage are greatly influenced by religious beliefs- but do try to remember that when it comes to political context. While I would say I’m conservative in my views on that subject, my views on the abortion issue are undecided and in the middle, can I tell you why? Maybe I have some thoughts you haven’t yet heard or thought of… if you have already heard these thoughts, at least know that by engaging me in this conversation you’ve forced me to take some time to really think about an issue, that for most of us is easier to just sidestep.
I don’t criticize those who choose to defend a life they believe has begun in the womb. They’ve helped give voice to the voiceless. Having been pregnant and carried life, I also believe that a spirit is attached to life long before birth. I also believe though, that man cannot thwart God’s plans. If He has spirits He wants to send to this earth, I’m pretty sure He will find a way to do it. So are they really taking away a life??? Tough question. But I also see flaw in your argument that we are taking away a woman’s “life” by not permitting abortion. As you have alluded, a person of 20-30 years has experienced/owned more “life” than a fetus. That’s because much of “life” is experience, and much experience an growth happens when we go through and survive difficult things.
I don’t believe that today, in the U.S., anyone can claim a true lack of financial means or education to birth a child. To raise a child, maybe. But to birth a child, no. I know here in Utah, a woman can go to a hospital, have a baby, place the baby with the state and leave. Free of charge. I know from living in south Texas, that man illegal citizens come to give birth to babies in U.S. hospitals because they will not be denied care. Remember what I said about life and learning coming through experience? Carrying and birthing a child under less-desirable circumstances is certainly a learning experience. A hard one. But it is one that I guarantee will teach and give life to the mother- not take it away. I think your mom would agree to that. Pregnancy and motherhood change life, but they don’t take it away. If a woman feels unprepared to support and raise a child, she can give that child up for adoption. I remember very well the tears of a family member who was on a waiting list to adopt when she found out your mom was no longer considering the option of adopting. I’m in NO WAY condemning your mom’s choice to keep you. As you said, everyone has different aspects of life that influence their choices. I just want to point out by legalizing abortion, many mothers continue to look past the CHOICE of adoption. So many young mothers think that their babies will go unwanted. That is NOT true. I have MANY friends on waiting lists to adopt right now! By “choosing” abortion, they are sidestepping any “life” or learning they will gain by accepting responsibility for getting pregnant. If you don’t want to have a baby, don’t get pregnant! (Rape I see as a difficult exception.)
I know. Right now you’re thinking, “didn’t she say she’s on the fence/middle of this argument?! Sounds like she’s pretty pro-life to me!”
Where I think your best argument lies is simply in the fear of someone feeling so afraid of the “life” that will change if they carry a child, that they choose a scary place and/or means to end it anyway. I don’t pretend to think I can convince everyone there is merit in accepting the responsibility of pregnancy- even when proclaiming the benefits of the adoption choice. I really don’t feel the government should have the right to penalize/imprison someone for choosing to abort their baby. I also don’t think the government should be in the business of financially supporting (through government insurance and buildings) the practice that simply eliminates responsibility for one’s choice. And the government WILL be in that business if it is legalized. That probably sounds very judgmental; that I would expect someone to take responsibility for their unwanted pregnancy. But it’s my guess that the reason they would consider an abortion is because they’re already fearful of judgment and the consequences their choice will bring! If we could just keep from judging others on their opinions and choices it would make everyone’s life easier. Doesn’t that last sentence agree with what you’re saying?
See, we do agree on something. :)
Your Aunt Jaime

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jake is gone for a few days.

1. I miss him fiercely. The kids do too. This is both good and bad. Bad, because right now we are sad he's not here. Dekker randomly states that he misses Dad. Josh can't wait to call and tell him about wrestling practice. Naomi says she misses him when she's sad and wants his sympathy. Even TJ searches for him in the mornings when he wakes up. I miss anticipating him walking through the garage doors at nights and being able to tell him about my day and have me tell him about his. It's good though, because it means we love him and he's an important part of our every day lives. How sad it would be if we didn't notice/miss him when he's gone.

2. Easy dinners. When Dad's away though, I don't stress over a nice dinner. Make-your-own pizzas, pastas, and waffles will do. Certainly not a diet that we should stick to long term- but it's nice to take a break from more labor intensive and kid whining meals.

3.  A bit more "me time". I want to be clear. I miss having Jake around. I do. But, if I haven't unloaded (or maybe it just finally got loaded and is still running even) the dishwasher before dinner and pull out paper plates instead- I don't feel so bad. Not that Jake is a taskmaster. He works hard though, and is a good provider to our family. So I work hard to make sure the home is welcoming when he gets home. I'm not the perfect housewife, but I try to have things in decent order. So when he's gone, I loosen up a bit. Right now our bed isn't made and I haven't done my hair or make-up. I'll happily return to that when he's on his way home- but I'll take a break for a couple days! ;)