Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Best

I have decided that I am going to, like Nephi, "write the things of God."  I want to keep an account of some of the spiritual things that happen in my life.  Every Sunday I am so completely filled with the spirit that I want to record what I heard and felt.  Every Sunday, I am amazed at how the speakers that are chosen seem perfect for their topic.  Truly our leaders are inspired. 

Today we had a primary program.  The kids are always darling, but honestly I have a hard time staying awake!  I really long for the "meat" of a regular sacrament meeting.  Everyone always talks about how much they love that program and that it is one of their favorites, but I struggle and feel like a terrible person for it!  Anyway, how is that for honesty? 

Sunday school really got to me.  We had a lesson on becoming more self reliant, temporally, spiritually, economically and physically.  We talked about taking care of the poor and doing more Christian service.  It was very thought provoking.  Our teacher asked some tough questions.  Such as what do we do with the beggars that seem to be on every street corner in salt lake?  Some undoubtedly need our help, but many, if not most are trying to feed drug or alcohol addictions.  So what do we do?  For me it comes down to trying to follow the spirit.  If I feel to give then I give.  If I don't then I don't.  But how do we really judge?  It is so uncomfortable to see them.  It is hard to even look them in the eye.  Mosiah said we should not withhold our substance from the beggar.  But does the Lord want us to enable dependent behavior? 

We also spoke of being more fully involved in Christian service. I want so much to do that.  I just don't know what to do.  It seems like there are so many options, too many, but I guess I just don't know where to start.  But I have decided lately that I don't really follow the prophet!  I think I do, but really, in most cases, I just listen to the prophet and say, "Wow, that was a great talk.  I really felt the spirit.  Wasn't that conference great?"  But I don't say okay, the prophet said to do this.  So I am going to write that down, and do it.  Or set a goal, or actually do it.  So that is why I have started to write again in my journal and I hope that I can keep it up.  I also am going to do some more Christian service.  So tomorrow I will:

Text my friend that helps the orphans in Bulgaria and ask for her address to send her some money. 
Call care centers and ask if I can play the piano for them.
Start looking on line for service opportunities.
Call a friend who I know is struggling

In Relief Society our teacher spoke of marriages.  She had a quote read that I really needed to hear.  It went like this:

There are those whose marriages are not as happy as they would wish, as well as those who have never married, are divorced, are single parents, or for various reason are not in a position to marry.  These circumstances can be full of challenge and heartbreak, but they need not e eternal.  To those of you in such situations, who nevertheless "cheerfully do all things that lie in your power" to persevere, may heaven bless bless you richly.  Seek after the ideal of forming an eternal marriage, including by striving or preparing to be a worthy spouse.  Keep the commandments, and trust the Lord and His perfect love for you.  On day every promised blessing concerning marriage will be yours. 
And then Kori showed a video.  I am going to try and attach it here.  It showed a husband who had Parkinsons disease who nevertheless, lovingly cared for his wife who had Alzheimers.  It was so touching I could not contain myself.  I started crying and couldn't stop.  I tried hard to control myself.  But when I got home I started crying again.  I can't even think about the video.  I really hope that someday, if I find myself in a similar situation, my husband will love and care for me like that.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Best Homemade Refried Beans Ever!

I got this recipe for homemade refried beans at a recent Enrichment, I mean Relief Society Meeting meeting, courtesy of  It is AMAZING!  One try and you will never go back to boring ol' refried mush from a can.  Once you make them, you can use them in burritos, tacos, salads, or whatever you use refried beans with.  Here is the recipe:

3 cups dry pinto beans (rinsed)
1 onion, diced
9 cups of water
5 teaspoons salt (I used less - because you can always add more)
1 3/4 teaspoon pepper
2 T minced garlic (I used about 1 - it's totally up to you)
1/8 teaspoon cumin

Put all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for about 8 hours.  After they are done, drain all of the liquid out, saving the liquid!  Mash beans with a potato masher (I put mine in the blender because my beans were a little old) or whatever you mash with.  Add liquid, a bit at a time, to desired consistency.  Makes about 6 cups.  Freezes well.  Love 'em!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You're My Sister

My sister heather has Epilepsy.  It all started about 20 years ago when she began having seizures.  They were terrifying.  I don't think any of us ever got used to seeing her have a seizure.  After having a grand-mal seizure, my sister would be "out" for the rest of the day, completely wasted.  Sometimes she would bite her tongue.  Sometimes she would stop breathing.  Always, she would wet the bed.  My sister has managed her Epilepsy over the years with increasing doses of very strong medications.  Medications that have had significant side-effects such as weight-gain, kidney and liver damage to name a few.  And still she would still have seizures.

As she has aged, her seizures have become more frequent, and she has started having "petit mal" seizures during the day.  They are just like their name suggests, smaller, shorter seizures where Heather would just zone out for a few seconds.  Sometimes she would be walking and just fall down, and it would take her a minute to get up and be "reachable."  She hasn't had a driver's license in years.

Well, she finally got fed up with the seizures, the uncertainty and the anxiety of it all and decided to take a drastic risk in order to put an end to her daily nightmare.  She decided to have the portion of her brain that was causing her seizure activity surgically removed.

She began with scores of testing and hospital stays, all designed to try to find where in her brain, her seizures were originating.  The only problem was, they couldn't find it.  They even sewed electrodes into her cheekbones to see if they could get a reading, with no success.  So the only thing left to try was a nightmarish procedure called "grid mapping,"  They opened up a portion of her skull, placed 60 electrodes on her brain, and closed her skull again using titanium screws.  Then they waited.  The doctors felt like they only needed one good seizure to get an accurate reading.  They got five in a row.  So two days later, they operated on my sister, removing a section (about 2/3rds of a twinkie size is how they explained it) of her brain.  We had no idea how my sister would come out of her surgery.  We didn't know, nor could the doctors guarantee, if she would have any speech, motor, or visual impairments.  We didn't know if she would lose her memory.  What we did know, what that the brain is an amazing thing, and that hers had already compensated for seizure damage by switching her speech and motor functions to opposite hemispheres.

Well, after her second surgery, I decided to go see her.  My husband and I had seen her before she went into her second surgery, after she had already been through her first.  She had a mass of electronic cords coming from a giant bandage on her head, and she was in pain, but she was in pretty good spirits, was able to laugh and talk, and generally looked and acted like my sister.  So after having seen her in that state, I was unprepared for what I found when I went up after her second surgery.

Although she had had all of her bandages removed and electrodes removed, she was swollen almost beyond recognition.  Her right eye was completely swollen shut.  Her hair had been buzzed. She had almost 40 staples covering the left side of her head in the shape of a U.  She also had a shunt that was draining fluid from her brain.  I was speechless.  I was not prepared to see her that way.

Because she was asleep, I decided not to wake her up, but just write her a note and leave instead.  But before I could get out the door, she opened her one eye and looked at me.  I didn't see any sign or recognition.  To make matters worse, she began speaking nonsensically.  I began to be worried.  She kept asking me if I could get that "white thing with a black top and if I thought that would help?"  Help what?  I eventually figured out that she was wondering if a warm washcloth would get the "stuff" out of her swollen eye.  So I warmed a washcloth and wiped her eye over and over again.  She asked me if it looked better.  I said no, because it didn't, but I probably should have said yes, just to make her feel better.

At that point my mom walked in her room and explained that her speech was normal for this type of brain surgery.  Her brain was simply learning to "rewire."  My mom left again to go get her a smoothie, and she and I were left alone.  She kept asking me to wipe her eye and so I did.  Before I left to go, I decided to ask my sister is she knew who I was.

"Heather, do you know who I am?"

She looked at me with her one good eye and said: "You're my sister."

I felt so relieved!  But I decided to probe further.

"Which sister?"

"My oldest sister."

"What's my name?"


When she said my that I started to cry.  She remembered me.  She knew who I was.  But even beyond that, her remembrance of me felt like it was more than a simple statement of fact.  It felt like an awareness of a connection between us, an acknowledgement of our sisterhood.  A bond, no matter what it's quality, that will never be broken, no matter what comes between us.

Friday, July 8, 2011

When Nurturing Doesn't Come Naturally

This post is a rewrite of an essay I posted earlier entitled "My Job Description."  I submitted it to the Power of Moms and they thought it didn't appeal to a broad enough audience and encouraged me to rewrite it.  Well, through much blood, sweat, and tears, (and a little help from my husband), this was the result.  I thought I would publish it here.  It will appear on the Power of Moms website next month.  

When Nurturing Doesn’t Come Naturally

I was a lawyer once.  

Now I am a full time wife and mother.  I never thought my life would turn out this way. To be honest, I never knew if “mothering” was in me.  Even now, I’m still trying to figure out how to do it well.  Why?  Because I am not, by nature, a nurturer.  Or maybe I am, but my "instincts" have abandoned me somewhere along the way.  It just doesn't come naturally to me.  I am much too task oriented.  I like to do things, to accomplish things. Check things off a list.  

Growing up I never thought much about motherhood.  I mean, I always assumed
I would be a mother, but I never dreamt about it.  I never played with dolls or babies and I didn’t even like Barbies all that much.  I never even liked to babysit!  But I always had other ambitions. I loved school, wanted to be a lawyer, and eventually get involved in politics and maybe even run for office.  Something important!  And my parents always told me that I was really good at arguing, so I might as well become an attorney and get paid to do it.  Why did I have to be a mother anyway?

Now I knew that there was nothing wrong with ambition.  And I knew that there was no reason why I couldn’t be involved in politics, or run for office, or have a career when the time was right.  

But I needed a reason to be a mother.  

Fortunately, God must have known that, because he gave me one.  Shortly after I graduated from law school, and I had already married, I happened to be listening to a program on TV.  I cannot remember who was speaking, but he said something I will never forget: women are meant to be mothers because they have special abilities, given to them by God, that are unique to them, that enable them to nurture and care for their children.

Oh. Whoops.  

Well, that hit me between the eyes.  

I had seen, even known of women who seemed to have those abilities; women who were sensitive, warm, empathetic and caring.  Women who loved being mothers.  In fact, I have a sister-in-law who loves nothing more than to sit and hold babies.  I never loved to sit and hold babies.  I have never even loved to sit!  Could I become one of those mothers?  Did I have some of those special abilities somewhere inside of me?  At that moment, on that afternoon, my faith led me to believe that it might be true.  

And so despite my perceived nurturing weakness, from that moment on I became a dedicated mother - to no one.  Our first child, in fact, didn't come to us for another four years.  But I knew then that whenever they came, I would be their mother.  And any career choices or ambitions I had at that moment would have to wait.  

I realize that not everyone comes to that same conclusion.  I realize that not everyone can. And I know that those mothers who choose paths different from mine are good mothers too.
But just because I know that I am doing what I am meant to be doing at this time in my life, doesn’t mean it has been easy.  My nurturing instincts did not just “kick in” because I brought babies home.  I confess that most of my mothering career has been spent doing what has come naturally to me, being busy and doing tasks such as: cleaning, shopping, cooking, sewing, scrapbooking, carpooling, etc.  All good things to be sure. But, over the years I have come to realize that children need more than that.

They need warmth.

They need love.

They need me.

And God has helped me become more like the mother he intends for me to be.  Every effort I have made, he has met me half-way.  I have realized that good mothering, like everything else, has required a lot of practice and effort.  The more I practice, the better I get.  The more I slow down and enjoy the moments, the more moments there are to enjoy.  The more I work at being empathetic towards my children, the more empathy I feel.  The more I focus on my children, the more I enjoy being their mother.  

And do you know what I discovered?

I never knew I could feel that way.  I never knew I could be that kind of mother.  It still takes work, and a near constant alignment of my priorities everyday.  Even now, I still have to consciously let go of all the things that come naturally to me, and focus on nurturing my children.  But I am getting better.  And you know what else?  It’s important.         

Question:  Does nurturing come easily to you?

Challenge: Find one way that you can better nurture your children today!  

Winners of 5 Dinners in One Hour Giveaway!

Congratulations to Diana Kimball and Mikell Shultz for winning one month menus from 5 Dinners in 1 Hour!  Hope you love it as much as I have!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Five Dinners in One Hour (Really) and a Giveaway!

Do you ever get tired of trying to come up with something to cook for dinner every night?  Or am I the only one?  Actually, if truth be told (and that is what we are into here at Musings of a Mother), what I get really tired of is NOT cooking dinner, or not knowing what is for dinner, or staring at the refrigerator at 5 or 6 o'clock and thinking we have nothing to eat for dinner and we are going to have cold cereal again!

I have tried every system I can find, from The Food Nanny, to Simplify Supper, to cooking a months worth of food in one day - never again - to simply doubling everything I make, to actually, well, having cold cereal just about every night for dinner.

Well, Michelle, over at Make 5 Dinners in One Hour has literally saved me.  She puts together a shopping list, menu, assembly and cooking instructions in one handy little packet, all good for one weeks worth of dinners.  If you go over to her site, you can click on a link and Michelle will send you one week free so you can try her system.  I tried it last week and let me tell you, it works!  Her meals are very good, her recipes are easy, and it really does take just one hour to put it all together.  My kids even enjoy helping me put together the meals.  I can't tell you how nice it was to have 5 meals lined up in the refrigerator (or freezer) ready to go.

Michelle charges $15.00 for a three months subscription (that is only $1.25 per menu).  But she has given me two one month meal plans to give away!  For a chance to win, leave a comment below (come on, I am dying to see some comments from my dedicated readers!).  That's it!  I will choose a winner by Friday, July 8th of this week.  Good luck and thanks Michelle!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

How Are You Feeling Today?

Sometimes my children have a hard time telling me how they are feeling.  So I found this great chart online and printed it off and put it on my refrigerator.  Now if I can tell they are having a hard day, but they can't quite put into words what is going on for them, I just show them the chart and ask them to point to the picture and label that best describes how they feel.  Well, I guess my 8 year old son Tyler didn't feel like there were enough pictures on the chart to adequately describe how he was feeling because when I looked on the refrigerator today I found that he had added one.  Plane (his version of the word plain).  As in, "I just feel plane."  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My daughter Sarah (who is 5) walked in on her Dad tonight just before he was about to get in the bath tub.  There he was, standing in his full glory, as she opened the door wide and said "Good night Dad!  I love you!  You are the best dad ever!"  She then closed the door and went her way.  She was completely unfazed.  My husband, on the other hand was stuck dumb.  It all happened so fast, and he didn't know what to do, so he did nothing.  Just stood there.  And mumbled weakly "uh... thanks Sarah."

You've got to love those moments.  My husband told me that earlier she has asked him if Santa Claus believed in Jesus.  "Of Course!"  He replied. "Why wouldn't he?"  Indeed.