Monday, October 31, 2011

Grandma's Halloween Party

Halloween has never been my favorite holiday.  Dark, scary, and morbid have never been my thing, but I decided there were many fun and imaginative ways to celebrate the holiday so I decided to break the tradition and have a "Grandma's Halloween Party".  What a wonderful time we had.  I will have to admit I did wonder how fun a party for 2 and 3 year olds would be, but I think it was delightful.  Grandma LaRae and her husband Ed, Tyler and Carly and kids, Amy and Luke and kids, Jessi and her boyfriend Spjut, and Jeff and I were all on hand for a wonderful evening.  I had bought quite a few Halloween activities from Oriental Traders for the kids.  We did a sticker Halloween scene, decorated pumpkins, made the cutest Halloween necklaces, and the best was playing with SLIME.  Check out the recipe here.  They loved it and it is super easy.  We ate sloppy joes because when the children were young I always made them so they could eat quick before they went trick or treating.  We borrowed Carries idea of a green ice hand in our punch bowl filled with Sprite.  How glad I am that we did this.  The only way it could of turned out better if the other 3 grandchildren would of been with us.  We did SKYPE with them and that helps.  Remember Making Memories is what life is all about.

 Puppy Dog Blake and  Princess Lucy came to our party
Our Cabana Girl Clara
Callie the Cow

Witch Jessi dressed for the Halloween Dance

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Message

A few days ago my visiting teacher brought me some Halloween goodies with this darling note attached.  I wish to share it with you.  Not only is it a message for you, if you haven't done your visiting teaching yet you have one more day and you can type this up on cute paper and share it with your sisters.

Since this is the time for goblins and bats
Halloween spirits, ghosts, and cats!
Weird happenings and witches brew,
These are the things I  wish for you...

May the only ghost that comes your way,
Be the Holy Ghost to guide your way,
May the only spirits you chance to meet,
Be the spirits of love and friendship sweet.

These are my Halloween wishes for you...
May God bless you in everything you do.
It's no trick--I just wanted to say..
It's a treat to know you in every way!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Solution to "The Funk"

The past few days I felt like I had 'sunk into a funk'.  I was lethargic, tearful, and anxiety ridden.  I'm sure knowing Kevin is coming home soon could of been behind a lot of it.  But, no matter the problem, I knew I needed to do something about it.  I began to analyze the problem and in seconds realized what I was doing wrong.  I had once again let my priorities slip out of order.  My essential priorities were about non existent. With all of the traveling, preparations for traveling, and life in general, I had neglected those things that bring the spirit into my life.  I know from past experience that if I do not have the spirit I do not function.  Without priorities I lose power in my life.  I believe in essential priorities, necessary priorities, and nice to do priorities.  Unfortunately at times I get caught up in the necessary (cleaning house, fixing meals, laundry, running errands etc) or the nice to do priorities (going to lunch with a friend, recreational reading, blogging etc) and neglect what is essential which include frequent temple attendance, daily scripture study, and heartfelt personal prayers.  These are what keep me going and give me strength.  Many people have asked how I keep a smile on my face when I have been through so much with my son  in the past few years.  I always answer that I have learned that I can't change his choices, but I can strengthen myself and if he can see that living the gospel makes me happy maybe someday he will choose to follow.   The only way I continue each day is by drawing closer to the Spirit so I can feel Him and hopefully know His will for me.  So yesterday I went to the temple.  It had been several weeks since I had been there.  It is amazing how I can walk through the doors feeling unsettled, crabby and lost and two hours later walk out refreshed, pleasant and confident.  I LOVE the peace I feel there.  I know that I need to be there more often.  There is a time and season for all of us to spend time there.  Where I am in my life I should definitely be able to go once a week.  (New Goal)  May each of you who can go often and make it an essential priority in your life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thank You Family

Today I need to tell my children how proud I am of them.  Kevin was with us for a few hours this afternoon and he was charming and considerate.  Jail has humbled him and taught him some great lessons.  The other kids were so kind to him and excited to see him and he probably doesn't deserve it.  He has lied to them, stolen from them and manipulated them.  Yet their true colors came out today as they reached out in love to him.  Kevin should of felt incredibly loved and accepted today because he was.  I know we are all concerned about his future and know that he needs to earn our trust because we really don't trust him yet, but they are willing to give him another chance.  That is what family is all about!! We all need second and third chances in life, some of us more than others.  When we experience a  problem how wonderful it is to know that your family will be there to help you if you are willing to change.  Even I was successful in being kind and respectful to him.  I'll pat myself on the back.  Thank you family.  I love each and every one of you.

                                                                         Kevin and Jessi

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


After months of counseling to help me deal with my feelings about Kevin and his poor decisions and how they affected my life, I feel like I have made incredible progress.  Sharing what I have learned with others has helped instill it deeper within myself.  Tomorrow will be a test to see if I can really live what I have tried to help others do.  Set boundaries.  Kevin will be released tomorrow from Davis County Jail after spending 18 months there.  He has a 4 hour furlough and then he needs to spend at least one month in the work center where he will go to work during the day and return to the work center to sleep.  If he can complete that successfully then he will be released completely.  During his furlough tomorrow, we will pick him up, run errands that he needs to do so he can apply for jobs, and have a family dinner.  I can already feel the boundaries I want to set crumbling.  He can push my buttons like no other.
It has been such a wonderful feeling to have the spirit return to our home since he has been away.  I do know that I never want to let his poor choices, manipulative behavior, and lack of respect ruin the feeling that we have here now.  I understand that I need to be kind, gentle, respectful and FIRM (rules for setting boundaries) when deciding what I will and will not do to help him.  My protective wall goes up when he asks even the smallest thing of me and I forget to be kind and gentle.  I just become harsh and firm.   I do not want to alienate him, but I also do not want him to take advantage of me.  I have been rereading parts of my favorite books about boundaries tonight to prepare me.  These are books recommended to me by my counselor and I have actually given copies of these to many friends that have need of setting boundaries.   They have helped me immensely in gaining perspective on how I can handle having Kevin back in my life.

1.  I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better written by Gary and Joy Lundberg
2.  Boundaries  written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
These are great books for moms even if you are not dealing with prodigal children.  Mothers need to set boundaries so we can have control of our lives or we can be totally engulfed by the needs and wants of others.  That is not healthy for us or for those we serve.

Monday, October 24, 2011


We have returned from our adventure to Oklahoma.  What an incredible state.  Jeff, Jessi and I left on Thursday and flew home late last night.  Ben and Carrie live in Edmond, OK.  The friendliest people I have ever spent time around come from Oklahoma. ( Utahns could learn from them.  We should be the friendliest people.)  The respect that is shown to women is amazing.  I have been "Yes, ma'am" and "No ma'am" all weekend.  I could get used to that.  There are as many Baptist churches on the streets as there are LDS church houses in Utah.   What a great area to raise a family; wonderful Christian values.  
We were met with bats, pumpkins, chains, and lots of treats when we arrived at the Crosland home.  The decorations were so fun.  There was even a green hand floating in a bowl of Sprite!!  We played Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin, ate white chicken chili and pumpkin sugar cookies, and had a wonderful Halloween party.  What a delight to see Cody and Macey so excited to host us at their party.
We visited a pumpkin patch, swam at the hotel, went to a movie, and watched Cody ride his two wheeler without training wheels.  The highlight of our trip was being able to attend the baby blessing of Mackayla.  Their ward members were so complimentary of Ben and Carrie.  They are such an incredible asset to their ward.  What a sad time it was to leave them, knowing it would be several months before we see them again.
 Sometimes I question my child raising techniques.  I always wanted to instill in my children the desire to reach for the highest, to be the best they could be.  Now as Ben is doing just that and excelling in his profession, I realize that the drive in life I wanted him to obtain is what is keeping them from returning to live in Utah.  Oh how I wished they lived closer, but oh how Proud I am of the decisions they are making.

It would be really nice if I had some pictures to share of our trip, but I left my memory card to my camera in Oklahoma.  So check out some great pictures of our trip at Carries blog here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Roller Coaster

"You will either marry or give birth to your greatest challenge."  That message was taught to me in an Education Week that I attended probably 25 years ago.  I have pondered it often and Jeff often teases me that I got both.  Our greatest ups and downs in life are found in our family setting. We have our most incredible moments of joy or our most devastating ones when the experience pertains to those we love most.  Usually our family goes on with the normal bumps of mortality, gradual inclines and declines, then we come to that big one.  Everything seem to be awesome.  We're all healthy, happy, and doing well.  Someone really excels or has some incredible news.  Life couldn't be better and we couldn't be more proud of where are family is headed.  THEN whether it be health challenges, poor decisions, consequences of others poor choices, financial set backs, whatever it might be, we are in a downward spiral that doesn't seem to stop.  Fortunately there is always a bottom and in time 'this too shall pass'.   Today our family has an up and a down.  First, sweet Kevin is still paying greatly for the consequences of his decisions.  He was supposed to have a 4 hour furlough yesterday because he was moving from the jail to the work center to help him prepare to soon be released.  We were going to have these four hours to run some errands that he needed to do and then we were having a big family dinner.  Unfortunately instead of being released, they  transferred him from Davis County Jail to Weber County Jail so he can take care of charges that occurred several years ago that he had neglected.  He appears in court there today.  My heart and prayers go with him, but I won't be there because Jeff, Jessi and I are flying to Oklahoma to visit Ben and Carrie.  Ben is working in an Equine Hospital there, his first job as a veterinarian since he graduated last May.  They have 3 of our grandchildren, our only grandson, Cody, and Macey and MacKayla.  The purpose of our visit is they are going to bless MacKayla in church on Sunday.  It should be a wonderful few days.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I was a great mother before....

I was a great mother before I had children.  I remember thinking I had all the answers about parenting and then something happened....  I started having kids.  After five children the realization struck me that I have absolutely no advice about raising children.  They don't seem to do what the book says they will do, react how they should, or follow the loving suggestions that you give to them.  The best suggestion (notice not advice) I have is to love them unconditionally, pray for them constantly, and teach them the Gospel while they are young.  This concept was reiterated to me just last week.  When the children were young we had them sit and listen intently (?) to our LDS General Conference on Sunday morning while it was broadcast onTV.  Sunday afternoon was optional for them if they would play quietly while we listened.  Optional all except when the prophet spoke.  Then we would call them in to listen while he gave his closing message.  This year our 23 year old son, Kevin, is in jail.   He hasn't attended church since he was 18.  The Monday after Conference he called to tell me that he had asked the other inmates if he could change the channel on Sunday at 3:40.  Being a little slow, I did not understand what he was saying.  After continuing to question him about the 3:40, he declared "Mom, the prophet speaks then during conference".  Wow, he remembered after all those years that we all would listen to the prophet at the end of conference and he made a stand in jail to watch those closing few minutes.  Teach them while they are young, Pray for them, and Love them unconditionally.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vacation Regrets???

Have you ever been on a vacation that you regretted?  A friend asked me that the other day and I had to answer NO I have never regretted any vacation that I had been on.  "My point exactly", she said.  "That is why we need to go on more"!  As we continued to discuss this we decided that many times you spend money buying things that you don't use, you don't need and often there are regrets.   Spending money on vacations and making memories is something you will treasure forever.  (No going in debt for these though or you will regret it)
Lat weekend part of our 17 spent some time in Park City,  We won't bring up that it was supposed to be a trip to Lake Powell.  Jeff and I, Amy and Luke and their two daughters Blake and Callie; Tyler and Carly and their two daughters Lucy and Clara: and Jessi joined us occasionally.  She had Homecoming at Davis High.  We had a wonderful time, definitely no regrets that we did it.  What an incredible time of year to be in the mountains!!  Here are a few pictures to show our adventures.

                                        Jessi joined us at Salt Lake Temple Square on Sunday

Blake and Lucy walked right over and sat below the Christus as soon as they saw it

Tyler, Carly, Lucy and Clara

Luke, Amy, Blake and Callie (Amy was not going to wake her for a picture)

We all rode the Coaster at Park City.  Notice Jeff is smiling, unheard of in pics!

The Four Girls at the Condo

Carly posted lots more on her blog about the trip.  She is definitely more efficient about putting pictures on so check out her blog to capture the entire trip!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Identity of Women

Last night we went to dinner at Copper Onion in SLC with our dear friends, Jenn and Kyle McKay.  Incidentally I do highly recommend the restaurant.  During dinner Jenn and I were talking about the world, children and mothering and she reminded of a talk given by Julie B. Beck ( General Relief Society President of the LDS Church) that she gave this spring at BYU's Womens Conference.  I had attended and remembered being enthralled with her talk.  I came home last night and brought it up on the internet and after reading it remembered why I had been so touched by it.  One reason I love Julie Beck is she doesn't sugar coat many things.  She tells it exactly the way the Lord wants it told.  Here are a few paragraphs that have inspired me to be better in my role as a woman
"There is an interesting, exciting, and unique female identity of greatness, richness, that is choice beyond comparison. And this identity that the Lord has given us and that we understand through the gospel of Jesus Christ, is in direct contrast to the debased and devalued identity of women that we find in the world today. We find an elevated, strong identity that comes from our Heavenly Father. This identity and purpose can only be fully understood through a spiritual confirmation. There is an intellectual study that can be made, but a spiritual confirmation is what teaches us who we are and what we are to do. There is much out in the world that is false by way of identity. There are identities of sensuality, women seeking power, prestige, money, leisure—all of these things are different identities. But the identity of a daughter of God is precious beyond compare, and rich, and full. We know that women are the guardians of the hearth and the home. And they have the responsibility for the hearts and souls of men and women and the children of our Heavenly Father. They are given this powerful and influential leadership role. Female responsibilities include being a wife, include being a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend. This is all about nurturing, teaching, and influencing. These are non-negotiable responsibilities. We can’t delegate them. We can accept them and live them, but these are things we understood before we were born, and we can’t negotiate with the Lord about whether or not these are our responsibilities. They have been part of the plan from the beginning; they are not going to change because of any clamor to the contrary. These are our responsibilities.
 Our Heavenly Father loves His daughters, and because He loves us and the reward at the end is so glorious, we do not get a pass from the responsibilities we were given. We cannot give them away. They are our sacred duties and we fulfill them under covenant."
If you would like to read the rest of the article go here.
Have an incredible Sunday

Friday, October 14, 2011

Snoring? Who me?

Yes it is true.  I snore.  I guess I've started doing "world class" snoring.  How unattractive and embarrassing.  In my defense it doesn't happen every night, just occasionally.  The only clue that it has been a bad night is when I wake up and Jeff is not in bed.  He has very quietly taken a blanket, his pillow and slept on the couch.  Never complaining, never embarrassing me, he just removes himself so he can get some sleep.  Thinking about how he handles it reminds me of a great lesson in marriage that he inadvertently taught me many years ago.  We had been married for sometime, and as always happens when two people begin living together full time, there were things that Jeff was doing or not doing that were bothering me and I was nagging him about them.  THEN I had an incredible epiphany. There are probably as many or more things that I did or did not do that bothered him!!  The difference was that he never told me or complained about them.  Totally humbled by my thought I tried from that day forward to follow his example.  It is so much easier to overlook his shortcomings because I know that he is overlooking mine!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What else matters?

Jeff has served as Bishop in a Young Single Adult ward over three years (actually the first year he was a counselor).  He is now serving in his 4th ward.  He was in 3 different wards at the University of Utah and now is Bishop in a YSA ward in Farmington, UT.  The most amazing thing to me as I attend the wards with him are the number of beautiful, well-educated, spiritual young women that are not married.  In visiting with both the young women as well as the young men it seems they have made the decision to marry so much more difficult than it needs to be.  I have reflected back on our courtship, engagement and marriage and am so thankful that we were able to not get distracted or detained by worldly obstacles.  We met at USU in October of 1977.  We knew of each other but had never met until attending a USU football game.  The next Monday was the first day of classes and as fortune would have it we had two classes together.  I was completing the last quarter of my sophomore year and Jeff was beginning his freshman year.  I'm not sure he even knew what he was going to major in.  We spent every day together studying, playing and getting to know each other.  By December we both realized that we couldn't imagine living our lives or eternity without each other and we were engaged at Christmas.  Setting the date to marry in March we went to register for school  in January and realized that just wasn't working for us and we changed the date to February 10.  We were married in the Salt Lake Temple on a beautiful snowy day, went to Park City for a honeymoon, and came back to Logan to live in our very small rental home situated beneath the university.  As I think of it now, neither one of us even had a job until after the wedding.  I don't recall worrying about our education, how much money we had, or if we could find jobs.  We just knew that together we could do anything that was dealt to us.  We wanted to be one!!  That decision to marry my dear Jeff is one decision that in almost 33 years I have never regretted.  We could of analyzed it and realized it didn't make sense to marry, but it was right.  Where is the passion and adventure in these kids lives?  It will never be perfect timing or perfect circumstances or perfect anything.  If two people have testimonies of their Heavenly Father and His Plan, if they are doing the best they can to live righteous lives, if they are willing to sacrifice and serve one another, and there is love between them, then what else matters?

On our first bed  (Feb 1978)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Beginning

As an almost thirty two year era of full time stay at home parenting is soon coming to a close I have spent many weeks, days and hours contemplating my next adventure in life.  The options are endless.  I could pursue a masters degree, I could go to work, I could volunteer or become a part time church service missionary.  Knowing I needed to be and do what the Lord wanted me to do I approached Him in fasting and prayer.  The unexpected answer came very audibly.  "Get your home and life in order"  That is not what I wanted to do but the answer came so clearly and forcefully that I could not  ignore it.  My house, closets, food storage, recipes, photographs, garage, car, you name it, definitely needed to be uncluttered.  Actually most things in my life needed to be set in order.  It could take me a full year to work on this and it may still not all get accomplished.  During one sleepless night (unfortunately a symptom of menopause)  I had a distinct impression that I also needed to de-clutter my brain.  The thoughts and feelings that I have stored in there for so long with no outlet needed to be written so I can some day make some sense of them also.  I knew I needed a venue besides a notebook because that just wouldn't happen.  The thoughts of a blog kept returning to me so I decided to begin one.   Whether it is just for self evaluation or if any of my thoughts can help someone else, here it is.