Monday, November 25, 2013

Spuds Like: Ephriam's Rescue

It's getting close to Christmas!  Which means that the time for buying presents is here.  I love love love buying presents for my family.  We try not to go overboard, but we definitely do try to spoil our family a bit at Christmas.

If you are looking for a great present for your family I recommend buying the DVD or Blu-ray of Ephriam's Rescue.

I purchased it for my husband's birthday, not really knowing too much about it.  We have watched it together as a family several times now and every time I see it, I am moved by the amazing story of Ephriam Hanks.  A Mormon pioneer, he was involved in the rescue of the Martin and Willey Handcart company.  Those of you who know LDS history will know that this handcart company got a bit of a late start on their way to the Salt Lake Valley, they pulled handcarts with all their remaining earthly possessions (often selling much of what they had to buy provisions for the journey).  The late start combined with an early winter proved disastrous for this poor group of pioneers.  They ran out of provisions and were essentially stranded in the snow without food and lacking the energy to keep on going.  Even so, they persisted in their exhausting journey having heard that the prophet, Brigham Young was sending people to bring provisions and assistance.  The story of the Martin and Willey Handcart company, while heart rending, is one that is sacred to Church members today.  Miracles happened in that company.

But this movie isn't so much about the disastrous situation of the handcart company as it is the story of Ephriam Hanks.  As I mentioned, he is involved in the rescue of those who were in such dire circumstances.  He demonstrates his willingness to be obedient and do whatever the Lord would ask of him.  My favorite part of the movie is when Brigham Young calls many of the men together to tell them that they need to go help the suffering handcart group.  They report when they can be ready to go- a week, a few days.  Ephriam raises his hand and says he is ready now. 

It's just a good, inspirational family friendly film and it is full of faith and goodness.  There are scenes of people suffering from frostbite and there is death so there may be some children who would be sensitive to that - that is my only caution.  I have linked the trailer below, the kind of scenes I have just described are shown on the trailer so that may help you make a decision for your family. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Back from the Gym

BYU-Idaho: BYU-Idaho Center &emdash; BYU-Idaho CenterHey there, I just got home from the gym!  This morning I went to the track here at the good old BYU-I center.  It's a nice indoor track and I like exercising there.  I am on week 5 of my Cto5K (Couch to 5K).  This week is a big step up.  Day 1 in the week, you walk 5, jog 5, walk 3, jog 5, walk 3, walk 5 (the first and last 5 minutes are warm up and cool down).  That was Monday and today was Day 2 for this week which is, walk 5 (warm up), then jog 8, walk 5, jog 8 and then on to the 5 min cool down.  On Friday it will be walk 5 (warm up), then jog 20 with no walking and then a 5 min cool down - I am scared...but excited.  This does not sound impressive to people who are runners, or naturally athletic or under the age of 25.  Maybe this doesn't sound impressive to anyone...but it is a big accomplishment for me.

I remember a different life when I was an athlete.  Most of my friends don't know that I was a competitive swimmer for the majority of my young life.  Actually...I still hold records at a few swim clubs in Utah, which is kind of a fun thing.  You know, one of those things where you show your kids and they ask if that was really you or just someone who had your name.  I wonder why it is so hard for them to believe...oh yeah...I have a different life now and do not look or act like an athlete.  I remember when I was in college and I would jog.  I didn't have to slowly and gradually get myself in shape enough to run for 30 minutes...I could just do it.

But that was a different life, a different season. 

For the past several years I have had some health problems that really have prevented me from getting into a good exercise routine.  (Maybe someday I can talk about that - it might be healing...I wonder).  I would get so mad at myself that I just didn't seem to have enough will power to make it happen.  I began to think of myself as pretty much an unmotivated slob. Eventually I realized that it was not just a matter of my mental inability, but that there was something physically wrong, a few things actually.  I am in the process of trying to get better physically.  I have mentioned before that since June of 2011 I have had 2 major surgeries.  Both of these surgeries require a long recovery period and I have been told it takes at least a year to feel like you are 100% again after these procedures.  So...I am only 8 months out from the second and the fact that I have actually begun an exercise program and have been able to stick with it and not fall apart is pretty exciting for me.  I wonder if I will ever really be 100% again and honestly, I don't even know what that would be.  I am now in my late 30s and I don't even know what 100% for someone at my age and stage is!  I don't know if I will ever again feel like I have the energy to get everything done.  Maybe that is OK.  Maybe I am just in yet another season of life, but this one looks and feels better to me than the season of physical illness I have been passing through.  For now, I'm just glad that I can say that I am just home from the gym - tired, but happy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Staying Home: Giving Up the Praise of the World

The other day  I was leafing through the latest issue of BYU Magazine, which I receive because I contribute some pittance to BYU every year.  There is section called, Alumni Achievers.  It is filled with the accomplishments of some amazing men and women who graduated at some point from BYU.  It is great and wonderful and amazing, but every time I look through that section I am drawn to the women who are featured and think, "Wow, look at what she has done with her life."  I know nothing about the featured women, only that they are accomplishing big, impressive things.  Inevitably I begin to think about what I have done with my life, what accolades I have received, who would think I have done something impressive. That particular morning I woke up after pushing the snooze button a few times, sat (not knelt) on the edge of my bed to say my morning prayer, lumbered into the spudlets rooms to get them out of bed and because I was tired I bribed them with earning a special reward if they would get ready on their own.  I then laid back down in bed to enjoy a few extra moments of repose before I got back up, got breakfast of the table, changed into my exercise gear, fed my little family breakfast, got the kids to school before the bell rang and then headed over to the indoor track to walk for 30 minutes.  I was tired by the time I was done walking and so I came home and flipped through channels for a few minutes until guilt overcame me and I went to take a shower. I leafed through the magazine at some point between leaving the couch and getting into the shower and was feeling pretty useless by the time the droplets began to remove the smell of sweat and indoor gym-ness from my body.  I thought about those amazing women and what they are accomplishing and then looked at my morning and began saw all of the failings.  I didn't get up when the alarm first rang, I didn't make the kids a hot breakfast or even their lunches today for that matter, I had wasted time with the TV, I had so much cleaning and organizing that I should have done, I complained about my day when I saw a friend at the track, I can only walk, I can't even jog yet.  The list got longer and longer and I felt worse and worse.

Then a thought entered my mind...I had done a couple of things that were good and even if everything else wasn't as perfect as it could or should have been, I was up, I was moving forward and more than anything else, I am a mother and I got my kids fed, got them to school on time, gave them kisses as they left the car and told them I would see them after school and I did.  I am there for them, I am their mom and they can count on me to be there for them, to come if they get sick or hurt or have an asthma attack and need me to talk them through it.  I have paid for them to get a hot meal for school lunch on days when the morning is crazy or they just like the sound of the school lunch.  When they get home I will help with homework, make dinner, help them practice their instruments, give them chores and follow through.

A few years ago I felt very frustrated when my kids were a few years younger and home more of the time.  I felt like I never got anything accomplished during the day.  Even if I worked hard and got the house all tidied and cleaned up, it was all ruined before my husband got home from work and I was almost always embarrassed and tried to tell him the things that I had done even if it looked like I didn't do anything all day.  One day he said, "I can see you've done a lot today, but even if you didn't get all the housework you wanted to done today, you did the most important thing all day long and that is being a mother to our children.  Even if you didn't ever do any of the household stuff and just spent your time making sure the kids were safe and happy, that is enough."  He totally blew me away!  And yes, I have an amazing husband - seriously, who says amazing things like that?  The thing is I believed him.  I believed that being a mother to my kids is the most important thing I do.  I believe it is the most important thing I will ever do.  It is why I choose to be a stay at home mom.

I am a stay at home mom to 2 kids.  I am so lucky to have any children at all (seriously, they are both miracles) and I don't feel like I should augment my family through fostering or adoption at this point.  I have 2 kids and I am going to have only 2 kids.  Nearly all of my friends have at least double that number in children and some have a lot more than that!  So, sometimes I even look at my friends and the fact that they are mothering so many more children than I am and I feel badly about how little I accomplish because I only have 2 kids.  I have even felt pressure to find some work outside of my home now that both of my spudlets are in school all day.  I think about how nice it would be to have a little extra money to add to the budget and to contribute financially to our home, but then I change my mind over and over again because I decided to stay home so that my kids would always know that I would be there when they came home from school.  I will be here when they are sick and need to come home, I will be here when the asthma flares, or the project presentation requires a mom's presence or whatever.  I am here for whatever they need.  I am here for them.

Now, please let me say that my decision to stay home is mine.  Nobody else needs to make that choice and I also recognize that there are a lot of women who don't get to make that choice.  I really feel just fine to let everybody else make their own decisions for themselves and their families and realize that everyone has needs in different areas, etc.  

This leads me back to that magazine.  I will never appear in the Alumni Achievers section of my Alumni magazine.  I will never look impressive because of career accomplishments nor will I ever look impressive in terms of mothering feats. I will not win a Mother of the Year award or be someone that others look at and think they should ask my advise on motherhood because I just don't have enough kids to qualify me to be an expert.  In essence, I have forfeited and given up any worldly accolades that I may have sought because of the decisions I make to focus my efforts at home and on my 2 kids.  My husband has also given up worldly praise.  He teaches as a small university in Eastern Idaho, he also wants to be home as much as possible so that he can be a part of our children's lives.  He is a musician, an amazing musician, an amazing violinist.  His schedule at the University is extremely demanding (like he usually has only about 30 minutes a day for lunch and the rest of the time he is teaching) and he feels a deep sense of commitment to his students.  So, he doesn't spend lots and lots of time out in the world making a name for himself as a performer or whatever.  We have been talking about that lately and we have both realized that what really matters is doing what is right for our family, even if it doesn't seem very important in terms of the world and looking impressive.

It is hard to give up the praise of the world.  Some days it can be a little depressing.  But I think I am realizing that at the end of my life, I want to look back and feel like I made the right choices for my husband and children and that the accolades and rewards I really want can't ever be given in this world.

Addendum:  I just want to clarify one little thing...I hope that by posting this I have not let anyone believe I am dissatisfied with my life or what I am doing with it! :)  I LOVE being a stay at home mom.  It is so wonderful and just what is right for me.  I simply wanted to express a few things that have become meaningful to me.  I think just about every conscientious person feels at some time that what they are doing is insignificant, regardless of career choice or gender.   My experience that day when I was feeling down, I think, is very much like what a lot of people often feel like.  But at the end of that day I was able to recognize that I am doing what I am doing because I DO love it and because it is eternally significant to me and sharing that with the "world" is just my way of acknowledging that fact and hopefully giving anyone else who may have experienced similar feelings the validation that it is OK for them to feel that way too.