Sunday, June 19, 2016


the last month I have had this feeling that something was going to change. I couldn't put my finger on it, I tried worrying about it, scott felt it too. I thought maybe scott would be getting a different church calling but I kept feeling change with our house. Were we going to have to move? Were we going to win the lottery and get to pull out the upstairs carpet that I have regretted for 6 years? (as a compromise for doing wood floors I scrimped on the bedroom carpet and it is such a horrible grade, after a year it was matted flat) it was just the strangest feeling of impending change.

Also of note, correlating with this feeling of change my post partum hormones have been on a roller coaster and I am regretful to say that my gratitude has been hanging by a thread. I have been hard pressed to find any silver linings in my life. I have come to recognize this state of mind and try to detach from it, comforting myself with the thoughts that it will pass but really praying that it can be lifted. I wouldn't classify it as depression but maybe an inability to fully feel joy without significant self talk and pattern recognition.

With these things in mind, we had an amazing fast and testimony for the month of June. I could feel the spirit so strongly and felt powerful impressions throughout the meeting. One sweet girl, who was newly engaged to a member of our ward, stood and bore her testimony. She talked about her physical disability and her new fiancé's limited ability to do some things. She talked about life in such a powerful way and delivered a line that had tears springing from my eyes the second she said it. After describing her love for Alex, her fiancé, and her pride in the awesome things he is doing for her, she talked about the things that were hard for him to do, physically. She talked about her limitations and about how we all need help.

We all need help.

It was a tearful plea. It was heartfelt and so emotional.

It was so profound for me.

We all need help.

That line ran thru my heart daily and I was able to embrace the truth of it. If we plan on returning to a loving Heavenly Father, we have to come to know help, both  receiving and giving. It is an essential part of our time here.

I thought of the amazing family this girl was marrying into and how perfectly matched she and Alex are. I was so impressed with this girl and in my deranged way of negative thinking started to feel bad for myself. I was thinking what a phenomenal job Alex's family has done with everything they have been faced with and felt myself shrinking with my duties as a mom. i admire this particular family immensely and was feeling like I was falling short in a lot of things I was doing. I resolved to do better and be the kind of mother to raise kids like Alex and his fiancé. They are a family that is love. They give it, they feel it, they share it.

With these thoughts swirling in my mind, I resolved to beat my negative feelings. To stop my brain from this stupid way of thinking.

Scott was supposed to be to scout camp over my birthday, which seemed okay in March when he told me, but the closer it got, the more that decision seemed to be a very bad one. I was trying to remember a year when he had been able to give me a day of his time. Suddenly I was mad because I was pretty sure my birthdays were always devoted to youth activities for the past 8 years. I decided to celebrate me by really being kind to myself and not letting this get in the way. I scheduled a hair color, a massage, dinner with friends, I was going to do it right!

The day of my hair color 5/7 woke up with the pukes. Flat down for 24 hours. It had been years since that had happened to all of us that fast. The day of my birthday turned into meetings and a drive thru for dinner. There were some tears.

The night before scott was to come home from scout camp in the uintahs, I was awakened at 2:10 am to our fire alarm going off. At first, I thought the house was on fire. It was filled with smoke. When I got up, I could hear a noise coming from the bathroom. When I went in, I saw that the newly hooked up claw foot tub had a cevered hot water line
in the floor. What I thought was smoke was actually steam. Hot steaming water was pouring everywhere. The kids were up now, distraught. I was panicked. In my delirium I tried to put the pipe back into the fitting but it was immovable and incredibly hot. The water was coming straight from the water heater, about 110-120 degrees. I ran down the stairs to the main floor and found that the fire alarm was going off because water was pouring thru it and it must have been causing a short. Water was pouring thru every can light, a wall of it pouring down all over a new couch we had saved for for a year. All over the computer, the floors, the antique chairs from Scott's great grandma. I ran to the basement to find the water had gone all the way to the basement as well. Pouring in all over. I was looking at the water heater and trying to figure out what needed to be turned off.  By this time I was panicked. I ran back upstairs to see if what I thought was happening was really happening. I was loudly, and very verbally pleading for heavens direction. Help me know what to do, I repeated over and over. I need help.

My dad was out of town, my in laws were out of town, my brother in law that works construction was out of town. I called the police, and deservedly so, the dispatcher laughed at me and told me to cal a plumber. It was at that point I realized that we were all safe. No one's life was in the balance, this was just stuff. But the line ran thru my head, we all need help. I told Grayce to start calling neighbor's and the other kids to grab buckets and start bailing water out onto the patio. As I went out to the patio with my first bucket of water, I was horrified to see the water pouring out the backside of the house, the patio completely soaked. I ran again downstairs and went to a small lever on the water heater and pulled it down. The noise stopped. I ran upstairs to see that the water stopped.

Kind neighbor's and friends that heard grayce's call came to a bunch of sobbing people with a very wet house.

I was able to fully accept all the help that was given because I was in a deep deficit. If I hadn't heard those words and hadn't had them affect me the way they did, I think the outcome would have been different. My kids had a warm, dry home to go to and to finish sleeping that night. I had dear trusted friends stay and watch the sun filter thru the windows to reveal a beautiful sunrise and a disaster crew to clean the water up! Hot cocoa and donuts were given and received, food brought over, water bottles, advice at the perfect time, comfort, love, kindness. Golde McKay slept thru the entire thing and only woke up once, it was the first time that has happened in her lifetime!! Scott got a text as soon as he got cell service:

we are all safe. Water main broke, house is flooded. Welcome home.

My parents came home early from their trip to house a ragged group of relatives and we have been here ever since. It looks like this may be our home for a bit until we get water turned back on and the exposed electrical covered with drywall.

Suddenly, I can feel that this was the change I was feeling and yes, I get new carpet, but in a strange be careful what you wish for kind of way. The thing is, I don't know if I would have ever wished for my house to flood but I would never ever give away the chance to feel help. Suddenly, that negative cycle I was caught up in has turned into a whole lot of love, just like this family I was feeling so far below and I realized something. We don't become great while being stagnant or comparing ourselves and feeing deficient. We get the chance to become like those we admire when we live life and feel help. As if my parents heavenly abode wasn't big already after raising 6 scoundrel children, it will surely be multiplied because they have made room in their hearts and home for us without question this past week. I was able to go to sabbath worship today and not feel so far below what I should be doing but feel renewed because I was able to feel help from my most admired and loved brothers and sisters.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


it's all coming out here. so many months of building up and thoughts. they are begging to be here. it's accountability and it's so therapeutic.

if i would have known how wonderful the aging mind and heart are i would have wished my whole life to be in my 36th year. honest. but mostly, if i would have known in the years before this one how necessary the belief in the separation in our spirits and bodies are, i would have fared my twenties with much less bruising.

things that are so good right now.

my relationships with my people. scott. grayce. easton. ella. rowan. golde.

i feel so connected and so in tune with them. i feel like we are all working together and going forward. we aren't in life's boat with someone hanging out wanting to stop. there are no leaks, we are afloat and we are loving the ride.

i have tried so hard to receive fully the gift of this baby. her spirit with us here, physically, has added something to us. it has changed me. it has given me priority and perspective that is nothing short of heaven's windows pouring straight to my spirit. all those hard rough places feel so right. it's not because she is soft and quiet and easy. its not because being tired is my strongest quality or the easiest on a marriage.  it's because i acted on this teeny tiny particle of faith. and i didn't try to change my husband's mind about our family's size. i surrendered. i stopped worrying. i asked with all the faith i have ever accumulated that if this is what our plan is that all the things will line up. that all the hearts will be soft.

and he knew i needed that attitude for this baby. i could not have appreciated a golde in my twenties. this girl.

she is loud.

she does not like sleep.

and she loves 3 people enough to allow them to hold her. they are as follows: me, my sister, grayce.

unfortunately this list doesn't include her father. or her grandma's or grandpa's. or her brothers.

back ups are my friends angela, rachel, and taleese.

her mornings are spent not sleeping and making loud animal noises. her nights are spent staying up until every last person has gone to bed. it's like she is so plugged into the energy of this house she just can't miss one second.

and i am the happiest i have ever been, ever. that's the gift part.

it's like having her here gives me constant perspective because i see how quickly it goes. screaming all day? no problem, grayce and ella will be home soon to take over loving and adoring her. poop coming out her backside? bonus bath which includes more time to take in her majestic thighs! i have come to see there are worse things in life than these small inconveniences. i know i will blink and she will be packing those bags and leaving us for grand adventures leaving only these memories in her wake.

every year i come up with what the theme was, what i was able to focus on or what came up the most. my 2015 theme was a healthy mind. i have never learned more about the importance of a healthy mind. there has been a lot of therapy this year to help this little family work better. little glitches that felt like i was above my head and heart and capacity. someone referred to me recently as a downer, it was done lovingly and with good intent. i immediately texted my most treasured friend and asked for honesty. she responded that i am a spiritual person and a thinker. maybe these can be confused. i feel a lot of things, like so much. like my heart and head have so many feelings. so many. and at night, it takes a lot to go to sleep because i have so many ideas and concepts and it has taken copious amounts of discipline to turn it off. hence why therapy has been so helpful for me and my little family. i have come to see how my weaknesses affect everyone around me. we all fall short. therapy has helped me see how to better adjust myself to situations that really overwhelm me. i struggle with OCD. my thoughts become so focused and i really have to work to recognize that and tell myself to stop. i have struggled with depression thru the years and holding all the sad things inside is no good. no good. when i eat a high sugar, high carb diet i get extreme bursts of energy that cause severe crashes. that is not fun to think about but being real about it and not holding on to it is vital. i have to do everything i can to keep my mind healthy and happy! mostly, i have to remember my spirit is not my body. they require two different kinds of care. i am not tied to the limitations of my body. yes, it's crappy that i have malfunctions with my physical body but when i forget about my spirit and am not so gentle with the thoughts my mind tells my spirit, i will experience sadness. sometimes all consuming.

the things i have put in place to combat my weaknesses.

cleaners. i actually love to clean. so much that it's a problem. i have a hard time separating pick up and surface cleaning. by cutting back on certain things we are able to have help twice a month. my kids do know how to deep clean and pick up, not perfectly. wherein lies where i get overwhelmed and my OCD takes over. it is not worth being overwhelmed and compromising my relationship with my people over how shiny a toilet is but my limitations always surface and it can become an issue over time. cleaning help allows me to be on top of dejunking and pick up without being constantly burdened and overwhelmed.

love. time and time again i have come to the conclusion of the importance of our hearts. they are directly tied to our spirits. when i am overwhelmed with the shuffle of 5 kids, household duties, financial duties, yard work, menu planning, and on and on i tend to let my heart be hard and impenetrable. i don't want to be like that. i don't want to compromise my relationships over the thick of thin things. i am not a yeller but when i get overwhelmed i get sad. when i am sad i pull back and hold back contributing to those vital relationships. that's not okay. love always wins. if i can remember to have a sincere heart always i can keep the important things in the right order.

friends. i have come to the painful/sweet/valuable lesson that friends are the bonus of life. they are not the staple of life, they are not the mainstay of life. they are the dessert menu to a complete meal, they are the august of life - the sweetest berry summer has to offer. in observing women and friendships thru the years i find that the most conflict occurs when friendships are held to main course standards. friendships become the most prized treasures when they are treated as that bonus they were meant to be. i have been the receiver of the most delicious desserts this year. i hold my friendships high and close and i have been so rewarded this year and feel lucky to add another layer to all my desserts.

so here's to 2016. a new year. a new chapter and a chance to be more.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


i don't know if there are words to describe what the last 9 months have been like for me. i don't think i have the capacity to describe it all or to bring it all together with a blog post but i would like to try and pen the feelings that have been surrounding us with the entrance of this sweet baby.

i think i have brought sufficient attention to my misery to anyone surrounding me at any point during the past 9 months. it was hard to be around anyone because i didn't want to ever be accused of being ungrateful. but a few minutes with me and my mid section and you would indeed be hip to the misery. there was no quote, or self help book, or richard simmons move that would help the suffering lift. purely survival.

so the dr suggests a start date of may 13. he said this to me at about 34 weeks acknowledging that it will be very likely i won't make it until then as he watches me get tense about every 3-7 minutes. fine i say. very unlikely.

i go into survival. i don't tell anyone about the start date. i have major performance anxiety. majorly. i don't want to be a bother to anyone and it might have been i didn't even tell scott about the start date for a few weeks. no way was i going to have to be started, the contractions were so bad and so constant.

at 36 weeks rocky (the dr.) tells me, you made it! hooray! we did it! come up at any time, let's do this. any time the contractions get to be too much- come on up, i won't try to stop it. be careful he says, that baby's head is not where it should be and you have so much fluid. that baby could likely slide out. and then the cord was where the head was supposed to be and i was in a stew. but i felt this overall feeling of peace. and i tell myself over and over, i can do a few hours of misery to get this baby out. i can, i can. even a dire circumstance only takes a few hours to forge thru.

so may comes and i am so miserable i can't talk. if i do, i bawl or bark. and then my blood turns weak and i am a bleeder. there's a chance i might not be eligible for an epidural. and that is almost more than i can handle. i am maxed for miserable. go up, scott begs every 4 or 5 hour stretch of 3 minutes apart. no, that baby wasn't big enough last exam. he said that baby was only 6 pounds. i can do a few more days and hope for a few more ounces on this baby.

may 12th comes and i have told no one. well, i told grayce i had some blood work early in the morning and could she stay home from school to watch rowan. the night of may 12th comes and we get kids to bed and then get some things together. my sister in law has offered to photograph the birth and scott tells me it would be horrid of me if i didn't tell her. so i confide late the night before. she says she will be ready for the call. maybe by dinner i tell her and grayce can watch your girls.

we check in the next morning and they tell us we have to wait. didn't we get their message at 5:15 am? no, we were hustling. they tell us go eat breakfast, go wander for a few hours.

so we wait. i am so sick. literally. my throat has been on fire for a few days and my stomach is not happy. not happy at all.

finally, it's 9 o'clock.

by ten i am hooked up, anti-biotics dripping as i tested positive for strep B. four hours and then they will break my water. the nurse comments that i am already contracting quite regularly and being that it's my fifth she will only give me the lowest dose of pitocin for fear of delivering before the 4 hour mark. they don't want anything happening before that 4 hour mark.

i have so much fluid that when they try to put the heart rate monitor on for the baby, it won't stay, anywhere. i am so round that it flips off in any position. they have to monitor the heart rate. so for the day, i held this monitor. there is so much fluid, that i have to press deep into my skin to get a heart rate. plus, all that fluid made for a circus act for this baby. this baby is twirling and whirling around. it worked rather brilliantly as a distraction for me. between being in and out of the restroom from the fluids and the heart rate tracking, time seemed to go by quickly. by eleven o clock i decide we should call my mom. school will be out early this day and i need someone to grab the kids and bring them up to the hospital. 

i call my mom who has promised to stay close until i have the baby. she doesn't answer. i call her house, i call her cell phone. after a bit of this i call my dad. i am a bit panicked and my plan has back fired. he tells me she is at the payson temple open house with her friend who is investigating the church and she has obviously left her phone at home. payson is not close to ogden if you are having a baby. my dad agrees to grab kids from school when it's time. 

12:30. the dr checks in. i am still a 4. still at what i came in at. i can't progress until my water breaks. the head is crazy high but it is a head. he tells me he will be back at 2 to break my water. 

at one the anesthesiologist comes in. it happens to be one of our friends and one of the partners in scott's group. at first this made me feel relieved but then a little strange. i don't cart scott around naked to my friends. like how should i feel about this at the next company christmas party? it's for sure a strange life when you are married to a medical professional. i can't think about things too much. the epidural was amazing. the mix tim did for me was so good i felt everything and so good i didn't feel anything. i was walking soon after and had no after birth or back issues, it was such a blessing.

at 1:50, rocky walked in and got to work. by 2:00 he had hooked my water.

there were 15 weeks of anticipation leading up to this moment. i dreamt of the relief that would come. i cried myself to sleep many nights praying for this relief. 


nothing. a little trickle. i had prepared the nurse for a flash flood, i was atop loads of towels with plenty on hand. she could see my devastation and checked me and found the baby's head was down enough that there was no way the water would all come out at once.

a few minutes into this and this crazy horrific pain right where my placenta had attached starts. it happened a few times during long stretches of contractions or whenever i was sitting in a chair that wasn't my recliner. all i can describe it as is a charlie horse in your gut. it was the closest pain to kidney stones i have ever had. it felt like something was being ripped apart inside of me. this was the second time during the labor that this happened and the nurse was growing nervous this time. there was some bleeding with it and also the baby's heart rate was dropping with the pain. and then there was a large gush. the flash flood i had prepared her for was happening. the gushing, the relief. everything. but this pain.

and then suddenly, it stopped after 20 minutes and the nurse checked me. i was a 10 and ready to go. she is paging the doctor and i am having scott call my sister in law and mom. hurry, we tell them!

i am in so much shock and disbelief.

there is rushing around, and running, and paging, and supplies, and in walks the doctor.

he is calm and ready and had a little smirk. he knew i would go fast but not this fast he says. we decide to face time the kids so they can be a part of the delivery. scott has the camcorder in one hand, his phone by the top of my head, and the DSLR around his neck. 

one push.

ginger hair! red hair rocky says!


one more push mom and this little ginger baby will be here.

once more and out flies this bright headed baby that is making all of the right kinds of ruckus. he holds her up and thru my tears i ask, what is it?

he gently lays this baby on my body and says, you tell us mom.

i look and take her into my arms.

it's a girl, i cried, and my cheeks are wet with all of the things this world hasn't given words for.

and the kids, they screamed, and cheered, and whooped, and hollered.
and there are tears streaming down my face.

and she is perfect and it is over. and her hair is red.

and at the moment, i knew what i knew for a long time. she was meant to be and waited so patient. 

she is golde. (the original 1800's spelling of goldie)

golden hair, golden eyebrows, golden lashes.
fair skin.

i can see ella in her coloring and grayce in her dimples. i can see the christensen side in her and the mcfarlane genes. attribute certain things to scott's family.
and i know she is ours.

the joy and relief are palpable.

the nurse wipes a few of her own tears away and the doctor tells us those cheers are something he will never forget. he quietly goes to work stitching and repairing.

and after a few minutes of skin to skin my sister in law rushes in and starts clicking away. i am all sewn together and then my mom and kids rush in.  

and suddenly the clock stops, the reuniting is all around us. there are questions and there is caution. and it is heaven. 

in all my living in 36 years, i don't know if there is more appreciation for a hard thing. i know that everything that matters on earth is in the room with me, both seen and unseen. everything it represents. for scott and i, it was setting aside our selfishness to be done doing hard things and opening our hearts to this little spirit, fresh in her body, and basking in this amazing love that surely drenches heaven.

she weighs in at 8 pounds 1 ounce. 

no way says the doctor. are you sure? that baby fooled us all, she was not measuring that big.

i am sure she was that big i say. yes, pretty sure.

and the relief that leaves my body, scott's body, my mom's body is so palpable in the room. and at that moment, it was caught on camera.

ella is washed and ready and has been for 9 months. hand her over.

and then she has had her turn and she comes to my side.  mom, she whispers, it's twins! 
i look around to see if there has been another baby carted into the room. there is not. so it begs the question, why do you think that sis?
look at your belly mom! there's still another one in there!!
a discussion about the amazing ability of the muscle called a uterus ensues. it still takes weeks for her to believe this explanation.

easton has this cautious, gentle love for her.

my mom welcomes her 8th grand baby!
rowan is a giggler with golde. it took him some time to be convinced she was clean enough to hold. seeing her fresh was a little alarming for him!
my first and fifth girl. scott and i are still amazed coming from families with 7 brothers and only 1 sister between us that we have 3 girls!

grandpa alan was in town to meet golde girl!

the first few days were so magical. i could feel so profoundly that this girl is strong. she is fire, and life, and energy. she has a serious case of the mommies which i find incredibly appropriate for the trouble that proceeded her! she loves her time to eat, its not only her meal but her most favorite hobby if that's possible.

i pinch myself everyday.

the feeling that i keep having is that this is the crazy i have hoped for my whole life. i never could have dreamed our life would be so full. there is something so profound in my everyday since this baby has been with us. it's a reverence and deeper love and gratitude for a creator's plan that i haven't felt before. maybe it's age and maybe it's growth, but its peaceful. and its happy. and it's ours.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


there is a childhood experience that is still so vivid in my memory and as school gets out every year, i always think about it with fondness.

when my family moved to north ogden, 28 years ago, my parents felt incredibly guided and directed to be there. the lot that they bought, the builders they chose to build our home, everything about it was all orchestrated.

it was solidified when we met our neighbors. all of them. we were surrounded by the best. it was especially exciting to us when the Su'a family moved in. or maybe they were there before us. i don't remember, childhood blurs the lines. but, i do remember that once our families met, the deal was sealed, it was a bosom buddy situation.

my mom found one of her dearest friends and i recall many, many afternoons spent on their back patio with women gathered. they would talk, laugh, relate, and bond.  the time our families spent together has proved to be a life long bond. they are family.

i have one very distinct memory. one that i mentioned i think of often and recently i was able to recall it and connect it to a current ongoing in our family.

one summer afternoon, both mothers thought we should go up over the mountain and have a picnic in the wilderness. my mother knows how to do it right. we spent endless days over the mountain just a few minutes away from our house as kids. on this particular day we took a picnic up to north fork and introduced the Su'a family to our tromping grounds. if memory serves me right, it was their first time up there.

we went to our favorite site. it boasted a lazy river with a large tree which was a perfect place to entertain 8 kids. 4 of the aforementioned kids counted/doubled/multiplied because their names were mikey, manti, vaughn, and devin. these boys were the epitome of what and how boys should be. the stories that have been revealed thru the years of their misdeeds together have caused my mother to be grateful at night when she prays. grateful they all survived. so, you can imagine the setting of wilderness, water, and wild boys.

we had the perfect afternoon. the sun was brilliant and we were under a canopy of leaves.  we discovered a long, large rope tied to the massive tree overlooking the river. soon, we were jumping into the water via this rope. over and over. again and again. there was yelling, screaming, and misbehavior from everyone, except probably jamie, she was always angelic. but the rest of us tested our mothers limits and surely made them crazy. my brother cameron caught a fish barehanded, threw it on jenilyn repeatedly and understandably, that put her into tears, fits, horror that i am sure caused permanent damage. vaughn, mikey, manti, and devin found sticks. always sticks. keep in mind they were all under 6 at this time and it was always about the sticks for every adventure. the best one, the longest one, the one that was most smooth. i don't remember where i fit in to the scene, most likely at my mother's side. i have always, always enjoyed conversation. is there such thing as a hobby conversationalist? is that real? because it's me and it's my mother. even when conversations were above my head and over my level, i appreciate her never shooing me and always letting me discover/observe the art of conversing.

as the afternoon wore on and the activities shifted, the boys decided to explore a different part of the river. across the road, a different path the river flowed. my mother never had the luxury of trusting her boys alone. never. and if she did, it was always met with stark consequences. this time was no exception. i don't know the amount of time that had passed, but knowing these boys, not long. soon, we heard mothers screaming all of their names and we knew it required everyone's attention. the river they decided to explore started shallow, it started innocent. it was accessible by road on both sides with shallow bush. but soon, it was beyond the road, the trees were impossible to navigate and those boys were lost. the further their river adventure took them, the deeper the water. they knew they were in trouble long before they could hear their names. they were trying to come up, back, get out. with it being so thick and deep it became a feat that required effort. the details after this become fuzzy to me, probably as all of these episodes with my brothers do. i think i always felt their lives were in the balance every single time and i tend to block some things out due to the trauma. they did this to my mom more than they should have. but, i do know that they were found and possibly spanked. deserved to be spanked. their adventurous plan back fired.

the memory of my mom and pam standing at the dense bush yelling for them is vivid for me to this day. i felt their desperation, even as a 9 year old. little boys, floating down an increasingly rapid river with no road or path to reach them.

we have found ourselves in a situation as parents lately that triggered this memory to affect me in a different light. as i was checking into the counseling office the thought hit me that there should be as many mental health clinics as there are physical health clinics. while it would seem charmed to declare all parents are equipped to deal with every situation that comes across the paths of their kids, it would be incredibly foolish to accept that truth as reality. i would never let my child suffer endlessly from strep throat. if i did, it would escalate into a dire circumstance. if my child had a physical deficiency, i would quickly seek help to remedy or ease the situation. i wonder why we aren't as quick to accept our defeat when we are in over our heads with mental health situations? all it entails is finding a different kind of help. the kind that helps ease our burdens as parents and gives us tools to help our kids. we work tirelessly as parents to teach our kids manners, how to be independent, how to succeed at school, but where are our efforts going to help our kids to be mentally healthy and to be aware of their mental health?

this past year, i found myself looking into a shallow part of a river. watching the enjoyment of normal activities. and then suddenly, i seem to have lost one of my kids. without my realization, they are going down a river that gets deeper and more swift. it's hard for me to understand because i am not where they are. i can't see the part of the river they are in, but it's deep. i know they need help but i can't see them. i have never been down this part of the river and i don't know how to get them out.  and the thing is, i can try to pray away all the troubles i want to, but at the end of the day, i have to accept that i don't have what it takes to get to them. i don't have a road to access where they are, i don't have hedge trimmers big enough to clear the bushes. and so i have discovered that if i want to help them i have to find the people who have the know how to empower my child with the proper tools.

there is this part when you can't see where your child is heading that makes you feel loads, heaps, vast quantities of guilt. if i would have, if only i could have taken this sign back then, did i not do so and so well enough, did they always feel loved. all of these things taunt my thoughts mercilessly. and if we throw in the fact that i have been entirely out of commission from september to may 13, it doesn't ease my guilt, in fact,it  significantly increases it.

but a break comes. in the form of a health provider taking control of the situation and really easing our burden. giving us direction and how to and making such a concerted effort to get us help. and then we realize the depth of what we are facing and our prayers are constant. they are earnest and a level of love and understanding opens.

i see that river and i am desperately chasing thick trees, deep water, and cries for help from the river's victim and this image hits me. if only i could elevate myself above it all, if only i could somehow get high enough above the river above the trees to give me a point of reference. and suddenly i realize, i can't but the power of a creator in his universe can. and the depth of the power washes over me. its a deeper understanding it seems has been on my heart lately. the power of a mighty god. it seems all of my reading and thoughts for some time have pointed to this and to the nothingness of me without it. the furious ways we try to constantly do for ourselves are purely in vain. when we embark on any endeavor on this earth and try to do it ourselves, we will come up deficient. all things point to christ and to an all powerful god. be still, and we will know that he is. to be still and to have the creations surrounding us testify is power that is beyond any love i have been able to give in this life. it seems to me that this power and love are intricately tied together and that maybe in this life, love is secondary to this power.

 one of my favorite reads is by george ritchie. he was pronounced clinically dead for 9 minutes. the story is fascinating. return from tomorrow is the books name. as he chronicles his journey of being dead and the thoughts he goes thru without a physical body, he details the power of jesus christ. it hit me that his description is that the love he feels is almost without emotion but with power. it isn't anything he has to question, its a fact. he talks about seeing people in the afterlife, riddled with earthly addictions that heaven can't empower. tortured spirits desiring physical bodies to support earthly addiction. and yet. jesus christ surrounds them. they fail to look up. they don't open their heart to the light and love that is above them. when the author pens his feelings about this love, he describes it as a power that is beyond anything earthly.

when i take that account into thought and give it application to my circumstance, i feel this deep need for repentance. this deep need to forsake my instinct to do things on my own. to eliminate any circumstance that i wouldn't call on what is above me. as the book of mormon phrase i love states, "i would give away all my sins to know thee", it reminds me of the importance of forsaking that sinful need to do it on our own. i read that phrase years and years ago and was so touched by the power of it. daily i have taken to asking myself, what sins am i hanging on to today that have kept me from knowing him? the discovery of every facet of the sinfulness of man has really brought me to know and have abiding testimony of the power of what's above us and the sins we hang onto that prevent that power to aid us. as always, i am ever grateful for the opportunities that surround me that give me new understanding and allow me to love and be loved.

Friday, April 24, 2015

in the quiet

my favorite indulgence besides partaking in something that goes into my mouth is being able to expand my mind thru books, conversation, or an outdoor setting.  the last 9 months i have chosen to survive. that doesn't mean how i have done things is right or recommended, but its how i chose to do it. if i thought too much about what my day to day entailed, i would fall off the bandwagon. if i tried to plan anything i would only be severely disappointed by what my body was no longer capable of without severe consequence. if i put my faith in someone to finally let down and share my struggles, i would usually get my feelings hurt by their responses.


i whittled my circles, my routine, my life. whittled it down to what i could manage until this baby came.

around christmas i had a few awesome weeks. only a few migraines, i was able to eat normally without hives or extreme gastric distress. the nausea and vertigo seemed to leave, slowly. we enjoyed christmas activities and i was able to cross things off my list. i was able to be excited about holding a baby and even thought about finding out the gender. then,

it went sour again.

amniotic fluid started to push at my insides like a balloon pushing full blast at my organs constantly. by 24 weeks i had a super scary incident that left me contracting for a 7 hour stretch that i could not stop. i am the queen at getting contractions to stop. my abdominal muscles were not stretching the way my body needed and there were about 2 chairs i could sit in without being brought to tears. my SI joints in my back were so inflamed, i limped/hobbled everywhere i would go. and then this strange pain started in my upper back. i waited too long to talk about it, thinking it was just another thing, and then we found out that some reflux turned into an ulcer that started bleeding. que anemia. and by 31 weeks i was at the bottom of a slippery slope. i would contract at the word "move" despite my arsenal of tricks. all i could do was to pray that my body could adjust. and here i sit at the cusp of 37 weeks, still here.

the hard things have let up. the ulcer is under control, a few adjustments from a chiropractor, despite scott's apprehension, have made a huge difference. my blood count is getting to where it needs to be to deliver a baby, and while the contractions aren't much better, i will take any ease i can get. and suddenly the dr. tells me, we need to make our plan. here are your limitations. too much fluid, the baby's head just won't stay down, much less engage in the birth canal. it's made your uterus a pancake shape. yes, contractions feel like those chubby, orange wizard of oz midgets hanging all over my middle swinging inside and out, i tell him. contracting with a transverse baby is torturous. so, he gives me some time. some time to consider what will be the best route that i am comfortable with. he also tells me not to worry, that's his job. and for the fourth time, it looks like a c-section is on the table. and i hope, for the fourth time, i will be able to avoid it. and so i have been quiet and prayerful.

the other day, i was able to cross some things off my list. whenever i have a good day, i go thru and prioritize with exactness what is most important. if i clean a certain area that has been bothering me, i have to automatically take myself out of the game if something else the kids need me for comes up. so most good days, i focus on making the house feel semi uncluttered, making the kids meals, and telling scott what i wish i could have accomplished, and like a super hero, he makes it happen, always. he also says he has arranged a vasectomy for the day i deliver because he will never watch me go thru this again. i can gather all the kids i want thru other means he says, but i will never be responsible for doing this to you again. and then i beg, please don't. let's not shut doors, and he laughs.

i was reading one of my favorite books for the umpteenth time in my life the other day. i was able to get a few pages in and then had to digest for a while. harper lee always boggles my mind. every time i read her prized and only published novel, i learn. to kill a mockingbird is my favorite self help book, my favorite parenting tool, my favorite to inspire routine and learning in my kids. i am amazed at the capacity atticus has as a single parent to be exactly what his kids need simply by being himself. he is always thoughtful and takes honest consideration to his kids requests. he doesn't dismiss them as children but rather his most prized stewardship without giving his kids a sense of indulgent entitlement. he loves they way they need it, he dismisses judgement of others and always shows respect. he is slow to judge, quick to accept, and always true to who he is. my goodness, i appreciate it. i admit to closing the pages a little quicker than i should because started to feel the need to reevaluate. have i stayed true to who i am while i have been in the thick of a thin thing? what rough edges have i let be knocked off, or, have i held on to my hard edges. have i been fighting change or the capacity to become better by only hanging in there and surviving. have i let my heart be still? sure, my body has had to be still, literally, but a heart and body that are still are two different things. a still body has been necessity and ultimately, someone else's life is depending on my body being still. but my heart.

in my need to numb up to get thru, i fear that my heart has been still and hard instead of soft and still. i have been afraid to let a lot of things in for a plethora of reasons. i have never been in a survival mode this extreme before.

i was called to jury duty yesterday. it happens whenever my belly is bulging or i am nursing a newborn. every time i have escaped with my number not being called up, but yesterday, despite my telling them of my predicament, my number was called in to report for a jury. it also happened to fall on the day of my neighbor's funeral. well, neighbor is a technical term. he was first a friend, living in close proximity to his family and vast array of animals is only a bonus.  i thought for sure, the county clerk would take one look at my phenomenon of a belly and dismiss me at once. instead, i was grilled in a room full of 50-60 other people, quietly filling out their questionnaire. how far along am i, how many contractions have i had in the past day, how much pain am i in. i was mortified. i have a disorder on a large scale that hates having attention in any shape. once the bishop had to say my name over the pulpit and my face turned hot and my heart raced like daytona and fluid leaked out the holes on my face without me having control. scott always has to whisper, breathe heidi, you are going to pass out. i don't know why its painful, but its a real thing. so my tears were brimming as the torture continued and i just don't cry unless its in a pulpit setting and i testify of the things i know. so as every strangers eyes are on me, i waddle over to a chair to start my 10 pages of questions regarding my opinions on lawsuits. i can't even remember my opinions on toilet paper anymore much less questions of deep moral absolutes. plus i can't see because there is moisture coming out every part of my head and i am contracting about every 4-6 minutes. i finish, leave, and sobs creep out as i exit the building. i am not excused and have to report back at 1:30. i will miss the funeral.

i cry the whole way home. i walk in the door looking 75 years old, with puffiness and wrinkles i have not earned thru a well lived life but thru crumbling. scott has magically had the day off, which is not normal and obviously a tender mercy. i sob the predicament to him and he is unsure how to act. i have not made tears like this a normal appearance in our marriage until this pregnancy. maybe it is age. i go upstairs and try to get under control and then i pray. please help me to be okay with however this day turns out. if there is any way i can go to this funeral, please intervene. and then the clock ticks and as we are starting to check kids out of school so they can make the funeral and i have given up hope for miracles, and the phone rings. the county clerk has got me excused from jury duty. my tears and puffiness then feel purely grateful and full of testimony that he knows the hairs on my head and the new found puff around my eyes.

i can't say what one pull it was to get to this funeral, mostly it was on account that there were so many reasons. ron brown was a man that you only come across once in your life and will never meet again. he played a large role in my brothers life as cameron was considered the fourth brown son on many hunting excursions. many times he was a constant with them on adventures across the vast expanse of the rocky mountains. i have always known and loved the family and then we moved by them when we were newlyweds. we haven't moved too far since then and have had the privilege to be loved by this family in a most tender way as neighbors. sundays soon meant a hug and kiss on the head from ron and high praise on my behalf, always undeserved i have to insert. we once asked him if he could bring a little display for our cub scouts for the annual blue and gold banquet that was themed "cowboy" and he brought the whole farm. he set up a fence in the church, brought exotic animals and taught those scouts how to wrangle an animal proper. i have never seen greater pride from boy scout eyes with their new found confidence. this was no small feat for ron and his bride as he was in the midst of chemo. they went above and beyond. ron brown was a cowboy. he was famous for his way with animals, sharing his talents with hollywood and the LDS church movie productions. his life was extended and his animals were used in all of the new bible films and other new church movie endeavors. his son at the service yesterday said ron had a talent of communicating spirit to spirit and that's why he had such a way with animals and people alike. you knew he loved you when you were around him. my brother wrote a classic tribute to ron that was read at the funeral yesterday. after i added to the puffiness of my face thru that funeral, it became abundantly clear to me why i needed to be there. it was like ron cementing his contribution of influence to my life.

 who we are in this life is enough. all of us have a ron brown, atticus finch quality about us and its enough. every person is unique, its our divine inheritance. it has to do with an all powerful god and the things he puts in his universe. it's enough to make and keep friends, its enough to keep relationships alive in rough spots. its enough to raise kids and its enough to do good in the world. its enough that we can abandon our tendencies to compare and embrace our opportunity to discover that unique divinely inherited quality of every person we come across.

my greatest discovery in this parenting journey is that we are not the sculptors of our children, but the receivers of discovering who they are. we do not get to dictate who they are by shaping and molding clay but discover the masterpiece they come to us as. this has freed the guilt i indulge in sometimes when i feel that little voice tell me i am not enough and certainly not good enough to keep bringing kids in to an imperfect mess.

and so my excitement rises as we are in the homestretch of this hard thing, ever grateful for the unique circumstance of having a due date. rarely in this life do we have due dates from the hard things, i am appreciating every ounce of that. and i can't wait for heaven and earth to meet so that we can reunite with a spirit who has always been connected and loved by us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

dont pick it up

i mentioned in my previous post that i was able to attend sabbath worship on sunday. this is an event that has been rare for me since early september due to our surprise. i don't know if i have ever had to miss too much due to pregnancy woes, but remember, i am old. i am a 35 year old woman with a full uterus and my glory, the 20's were meant for child bearing.

i was able to go to church. miracle. and the thing is i have been praying for for a while are that life would slow down and i would be able to plug in. i feel like we run, run, run. i am in charge of a schedule that has to be perfected with all of the obligations, events, and talents we are trying to cram into this busy season of life. i have longed for days with babies on my lap where our outing for the day was a walk around the block, a few good books, a close examination of the best afternoon snack, and devotion to a punctual, flawless bedtime routine. it has all been replaced with choosing the best things, priority given to each child's most earnest desire to nurture one specific talent at a time, and then - fitting in regular family things.

but i have stewed and worried about a baby fitting in with our madness. is it healthy, wise, fair to a baby? god has a funny way of calming troubled hearts.

there is nausea, Nausea, and then NAUSEA. I mean, i have had some. but this time. i had SOME. and i could hide it okay the first 6-7 weeks as long as no one was breathing within a 20 foot radius, or as long as no one had used an offensive hand soap, or...... well, you get the picture. and then the migraines started. and it's mostly a convoluted, long tale that i am glad is lifting but it was 5 weeks in a dark room eating apples and carrots. and a dark room would get the best of anyone after a while. there is a sinking despair when your most earnest prayer is for there to be a cloudy day so you can go downstairs and avoid where sun creeps thru certain rooms. and there is also some part where hope gets lost. early on, there were a few weekends spent down because it looked like i was loosing the baby. the doctors nurse was kind and gentle, offering to have me come up and have some blood tested or an ultrasound performed. but when i thought it thru, i knew that none of those things would save a pregnancy. so i prayed that if my body was able, this pregnancy could be saved. and that's when the migraines started. which translates to a significant shift in hormone production in my case, the very thing i needed. it's often interesting how the very things that seem to try us the most are the answers to our hearts desire.

in a dark room for a long time it wouldn't surprise anybody to think that i got nutty. i lost any social confidence i had (which isn't measured on any large scale to begin with), i became sad, depressed, emotional, and susceptible to immense negativity. i felt like everything was stripped away and worried that i would be locked up until spring. i lost my umph. i usually have enough umph and excitement about certain things for 3 people, but it was gone. my heart was so heavy. i felt myself slipping into a place with walls so high i couldn't see.

but then there was this small prayer that i could be normal, that a part of me could return.

i was sitting in a pew sunday when the speaker was reading an excerpt from the Chris Williams story: Let it go: A true story of Tragedy and Forgiveness. (there is a wonderful mormon message clip on it, or there is a book) he had just read Chris's reaction to feeling that his wife and unborn child had been killed, his other child in the back seat had been killed, but the child directly behind him was going to live. he described receiving the knowledge as factual versus emotional. then his eyes rested on the car in front of him that was tipped upside down. the one that had just struck his car at a high rate of speed, head on, killing all of these people, the driver in a drunken haze. he describes this voice as the voice of the savior, and it said, don't pick it up, let it go.

i have heard this story over and over. and over and over. it is an incredibly powerful story. i don't think any one person would say they are exempt from having thoughts of this scenario being their worst case.

and the thing that hit me the most was if this was the worst case, the worst possible event that anyone could imagine happening and the advice from a loving savior was to let it go, not to pick it up, why on this earth do i waste time everyday picking things up? if i really know that jesus christ has atoned for my sins, if i really know that he went to gethsemane and forged a new heart, specifically for me, plowing thru every emotion, trial, burden i will ever feel, and felt it, but without sin for me, why do i pick up meaningless things daily that forge a sinful heart? why do i pick things up that cause me to judge others, harness anger, and the like?
the other part that was so profound to me was that we have a choice. even though we do have a way paved individually to rid us from the burdens of picking things up, we can choose not to pick it up and to let it go. that doesn't mean we will be exempt from the healing of gethsemane, it just means we can progress spiritually at a rate that increases knowledge versus carrying things around that profoundly diminish progression.

i sat with tears brimming in my eyes, spilling over as this all sunk in. and then, i prayed. really, sincerely prayed that i could remember this. that it would penetrate my heart, my thoughts, my actions, my attitude. i knew that the way the story struck me was my personal revelation. my days have been filled with the thought over and over, heidi, don't pick it up. the thoughts that have seemed to cripple me are met with, let it go.

i got sick last night. it was a rough day. the NAUSEA was unpleasant, a migraine hit me right as we were to leave to cheer easton on at one of his last basketball games. i was quick to pick up the thoughts that have been ruining me, but quicker to say, this too shall pass, don't pick it up. and i did. and today, it's a bit rough too. the day after those hard ones always feel unsettling but my heart, it's full of gratefulness that i can let it go. that i can choose not to pick it up. and suddenly, i know my prayer is answered and i am plugged in.

Monday, November 17, 2014


i am performing my semi annual blogging duties here.

my absolute favorite series of books are the Sarah Agnes Prine series. the first book is "these is my words". i read the series at least once a year. i always learn something about myself between the lines. i love the years her house becomes so bustling with children that her entries are sporadic and feel busy. i have given myself some leniency with the details of our lives when i know we are hard at work living and bustling.

there seems a golden point in parenting when all kids do not need monitoring revolving around bodily functions. there is some amount of freedom and a sense of arrival, if you will, once this occurs. there are four people we have monitored thru physical need and you think, maybe we are done. well, at our house, one spouse was praying we were done. and for a few years i had to be okay with that even though i knew we were not. bringing it up caused some tension. i also knew that i didn't want to wait too long. let's be honest, i am a short person and carrying large babies has posed some physical challenges for me. i knew aging anymore would not contribute to helping any infirmity.

last year, i prayed really hard that if we were supposed to have another baby, that the unnamed spouse would be filled with a knowledge that this person was a part of our family and that we needed to make it happen. i prayed and had faith that it would happen because i just know these things. i was however concerned that i would be strong arming someone if i put pressure on or guilt. so i was quiet. absolutely silent about it but i kept praying. within a few months that redhead came home from a temple trip and he knew. he knew and he was happy about it which was the part i had forgot to add in to my prayer, it was a bonus. he was ready. ready for a baby, he knew like i did, what kind of a baby it would be and how crucial this person was to our progression. but i was not quite ready. because...

girls like me dont get to plan due dates, dont get to gather excitement about pregnancy. girls like me have to prepare for disappointment, time passing, accepting whatever due date that comes, and building emotional walls to prepare for the disappointment. so, i said to scott, all my married days i have longed for a baby in may. a baby born when RSV is dead and allergy season is over. when the kids are out of school and carpools and extra curriculars are over. when the germs gathered at school cant come home for three months and when everyone is home to drink up a baby. when our only job is to lounge poolside with snacks and shade and sun and memories.

and he said okay. lets try for a may baby.

so, we waited a bit and i started building the walls. not thinking about anything baby. guarding myself against any cute baby, equipment, clothing, bumps, all of it - i shut it out. and to replace it, i started a cake business. because that's what any normal, logical person would do. they would immerse themselves in baking for days on end, for birthdays, brides, family parties, and the like.

but then,

there comes a surprise. and there's a may baby. due the week school gets out. and i know, this is meant to be. and i can't help but get weepy most days.

it's been hard. i have known sickness i never knew was possible. there is no longer a cake business. instead, there is this part of my heart that is full and the funny thing is, i never knew it was empty. the house is dirty and my husband is exhausted. he is doing it all right now. but, things are looking up. i went to church for three hours yesterday and it required no pill. i completed what was asked of me. i worshipped, i partook, i felt this burning in my heart and i thought to myself - welcome to the second trimester.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

for kyle

in a little over a week, my baby brother enters a new phase in life. he follows mormon tradition and says, i beleive now i will go and do. he has been called to serve an lds mission to the people of mexico.

the older i get, loving two little boys of my own, the thought of missions always hit me different/harder. it's a little more emotional for me thinking of what it entails to send a boy off in the world on his own, using every skill you have ever taught him, to survive in the world.

i only lived with kyle for 4 years before i was married, so our normal family connection is a little different. my kids however, look to him like a sibling and i appreciate that on every level. he has been glue for our family, the late in life baby that garnered a whole lot of looks my parents direction as my mom was 38 when she had him. he was the best decision they made. he is such a good, focused person. he works hard, he is a stoic person. he does what is asked of him and he does it well. i hope my kids know its because he "knows".

i know that he knows who god is. kyle is coming out of his shell, leaving all comforts of the youngest child, essentially the only child the past few years, the comforts of a first world country, because he has put the effort into cultivating a relationship with god and that gives him enough strength to share with others what he knows.

it's not just about god either. if we know god, we know that jesus christ is the way. sometimes the world suggests we "find jesus" as if he is something only a few will find. if only the world knew what sheri dew stated: "jesus christ is not our last chance, he is our only chance. he will show us the way because he is the way." our achieving an eternal reward will not be by the skin of our teeth as my mom always tells me. our eternal measure will be fulfilled by abounding grace and mercy. abounding.

there will always be apostacy. it makes my heart hurt but i am no stranger to it. utah mormons are always shocked when we tell of the amount of apostacy we saw at an ivy league university. the reasons for abandonment were no small feats. there were facts/reasons/books/knowledge that took years to accumulate. people can throw away a lifetime of god's love by hanging themselves up on the smallest detail. the smallest. it becomes obsessive and a lifetime of anger, frustration, and hurt gets thrown at the very thing that heals. the very peace of life is cast aside due to brewing anger that isn't extinguished thru the merits and mercy of him who can heal.

we are all on spiritual journeys here on earth whether we acknowledge it or not. we are progressing towards god or we are not. either direcion is crucial for our eternal destiny. how do i know that the way the LDS church does things are the dictates that mandate heavens entry? my life has been layers of confirmation and also times of doubt, frustration, and self inflicted darkness. i have found that our bodies are meant to worship. i believe that is how god created us. the mountains beckon awe, seasons encourage deep emotional stirring-a need for connection. the order of god's creations suggest his ways are ones of process, journey, struggle, growth but above all order. our body's need to worship can be tilted either way. worshippers of self, pride, world, money, intellect, imagery, materialism, intellectualism, can feel just as fulfilled/justified in life as those who choose to direct their worship to god. i believe in satan. he is just as real to me as god's abounding love. he also begs for our natural ways of worship. so many times he wins.

i was listening to one of my favorite talks a few weeks ago by henry b eyring and one thing that stuck out to me this particular time was when he said - "if the foundation of faith is not embedded in out hearts, the power to endure will crumble." i needed to hear that so i could know where to draw from. i was struggling with enduring, hope, faith. i think it's a daily struggle for anyone caught in the thick of thin things. i appreciated that line. my foundation is embedded, i just needed to remember that. and because of it, i can endure. it's that simple.

so kyle, this is what i know. i see the creations under his direction and i know that there is a way to him that entails order, direction, work, and love. his plan is perfect, and because we are not, there is no road/journey/belief that his plan can not find a place for. every detail of our lives have been accounted for so that we can return with him. there is no struggle, doubt, pain, wrong, loneliness he did not account for and it's because he wants every one of us. every single body he gave life to, he wants returned. he longs for that parental love returned in order and worship, respect and understanding by us.

now, go and do. find and serve, our knees our bent on your behalf. loves.

Monday, February 3, 2014

hanakapi'ai falls trail

there comes a time in every couple's marriage when they get the green light feeling that they can travel together and their hearts won't burst from missing their kids and their bank wont weep for a year from the cost.

it happened to us.

it was brilliant, wonderful, amazing, and fantastic.

hawaii it was. oahu and kauai.

we went with some dear friends, and of course thru the course of the trip they became more dear. traveling with loved ones deepens bonds.

i went for the beach. i went because my soul craves taking in god's creations. that sounds gummy and so forth, but deep inside me i don't crave adventure or thrill seeking activities. they are fine and i don't mind them, but i don't seek them. i seek out the opportunities to be still and know god and i find that the earth's beauty is essential in that endeavor.

oahu was filled with non-stop activity. we were tourists, taking in every sight possible. while i could chronicle all of the activities, the two that were the best for me were taking in the north shore swells that were something for the record books and waikiki beach. we were able to sit behind yellow caution tape and watch the waves. it was purely magnificent and healing. the waves were beyond description and i kept thinking how lovely it was that we were taking in the north shore at such a rare time and with such power and force. as we made our way around the island we hopped out of the car and walked to the laie lds temple. all temples are special but i had a moment as i walked with my friend in front of the grounds where i could see everyone i loved in white. the two of us were quiet for a moment as we were taking in the smells, the scenes, the peacefulness and we both commented to one another that this was celestial material. feeling loved and seeing beauty has to be of heavenly merit.

we finally squeezed in a few hours on waikiki beach which was so refreshing. we saw sea turtles, skin that should have been covered, obscene exercise routines, inside jokes were born and the like.

we all knew that when we went to kauai it was about living like a local. we were somewhat true to that. there were some touristy things that we indulged in everyday for the thrill seekers in the group but my lazy hawaiian beach dreams were fulfilled. we stayed on the north side in the hanalei bay area. i have never in all my life seen such beauty. to sit at a beach with a mountainous back drop, waterfalls pouring off every cliff, and waves crashing all around, it was profoundly spiritual for me. the first beach we were at i had hours of spiritual awakening. it was like all the funk and fog of daily things lifted and those quiet whisperings were suddenly the new volume in my head. scott was back and forth snorkeling with his buddies. i had quiet moments of deep reflection. i love taking the chance to be still and see god. scriptural phrases poured thru my head the whole time that helped me get a re-charge and perspective that only a mother can appreciate.

the trip wasn't about escaping my daily duties or drudgery, it was about taking a second to re-group and re-charge, figure out where my marriage is, where my spirit's progression stands, and how i am doing at fulfilling my responsibilities to the four souls who claim me.

it was laced with laughing, and bonding, eating, and beach comparison.

one of the days i gave in to the busy ness of vacationing and submitted to a hike. a secret amazing beach, a waterfall you can swim under were the enticing words that got me. i would surrender to some physical work to see that. i pictured a blue lagoon greeting us with a mild jaunt up a mountain.

the previous night greeted us with a horrific rain storm. it howled all night, took out roads with the precipitation, and made some of the crossings impossible.

to get to the halfway point of the waterfall, we had to cross a fairly deep river. at one point because of the rain it was so deep some hikers were stranded overnight and had to wait to cross the swift waters. we happened upon the major crossing right as it was deemed passable. i traveled with tall people on this trip and water that was mid thigh for them was waist deep for me, making it trickier to cross such an angry water passage. the men were great and formed a human chain and pulled me along. once we crossed we realized we were out of cell phone range, it might start raining again which would complicate the waterway to get back, and we were running out of daylight and water. we quickened the pace so that we wouldn't have to add our marks to the board marking the fatalities on the hike. (there were 82)

we passed thru amazing bamboo jungles and terrain that was breath taking. some of it was lost on me as i didn't like taking the chances we were taking to see the waterfall. i have a very black and white personality and i really struggle with grey areas. as a woman who was being missed by four little people in utah, i felt like there was a definite risk of being stranded and loosing the feeling of vacation. we were loosing daylight and almost completely out of water. we started to loose the trail due to the large volumes of water pouring all around us. soon we had to start looking for things to help us decipher if we were on the right path. we had heard from so many people about this amazing hike and no one described to us what we were encountering. suddenly we realized there were pink ribbons tied along trees. they were trail markers. that's when we realized how much the rain had distorted the trail. the actual trail itself was comprised mostly of rock and dirt making the trail slick and muddy. we finally neared the top, feeling this exuberant, triumphant feeling only to be greeted with what i can describe as the force of a helicopter in front of us. the waterfall was overflowing with water and wind, showing it's power and authority. the water bouncing off the fall had us all covered and soaked in five minutes flat. one person tried to swim and the temperature was too cold. two others attempted it and could only dunk their heads quickly before retreating. i had to stand with my back to it as the force was taking my breath away. we couldn't snap any pictures of our accomplishment because the water would have ruined our cameras. we left quickly, defeated. our end reward wasn't at all what we had hoped for. it was too much to take in and enjoy.

the entire hike there were scriptural phrases coming in and out of my mind and i was being taught. i left the waterfall totally depleted of the excitement i had built up. my build up and hype was that it would be quiet and still. i thought about how that hike was so similar to trials, life's journey, and so on. our choices put us on paths that may be the same trail as others, but the lord has to power to shape the trail just for us. our hike was a bi-polar experience to everyone else's who had been on it. we saw the same fall but it was magnified. we had to work harder getting there, take more risk to do it, but essentially our destination was the exact same as everyone else's who had done it. i thought about the past twelve months we have been thru. i signed up to be a mom but i don't recall asking for torrential rain. my path felt so flooded this past year. i felt like i was on a trail that was going to wash out at any point because it seemed beyond what i could handle. but, i had pink ribbons all along the way telling me i was where i needed to be. we were doing what we needed to to finish the hike, to conquer the trial. when we got to the point that was the hardest with easton, we were exhausted and deflated, the final summit left us feeling weary and weak.

 at the end of the trail there was some sense of accomplishment. our physical efforts left our bodies feeling weak but there was a sense of completion, we finished what we came to do. i also felt like at the end of our trial this year that it was important not to lament on the downward part of the resolution. sometimes i have the tendency to got caught up in the sheer exhaustion of the trial, having a hard time giving it up, lamenting of the "hard" nature of it. it's important to get off the trail or trial. be ready for something else, ready for the next one.

i also thought about that hike in another way. i thought about how life's journey is only meaningful when we are on a path. if we stand at the trail head simply waiting for something, we never get to experience the good and the bad that adam and eve taught us about. i thought about how important our time on this earth is. every choice, action, reaction is crucial. we are in a testing period that we can never get back. the end reward is going to be so much more than we can imagine. sometimes life just seems like a simple hike, a jaunt if we listen to the account of others instead of engaging and finding out for ourselves. somehow the thought struck me that the magnitude of celestial glory or heavenly reward will be just as powerful as that massive waterfall. so much more than we can imagine or take in with our limited vision. the things that wait to award climbing trails laden with torrents and floods are more powerful than we can comprehend.

today is monday. monday after vacation is like eating purple poi, slimy, goopy, not desirable. and so, i will dream of ways to get back to tropical paradise and remember to take the trail/trials with grateful hearts.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

is there such thing as Santa?

this is a post wherein i validate children all over.

this story will take us back to the years of 2004-2006. the mckay's lived in the ghetto otherwise known as new haven, ct. we lived on the campus of yale university. in our 4-plex there was a wide diversity of the world represented in a small colonial building. the italians lived across from us. she was an artist, he was the stay at home dad with their son theodore. katarina and angel (he was a man and it was pronounced anyel) were from spain and they had two daughters whose names escape me. the people above us were a family from korea. they had lived at yale in the tiny apartment for 9 years. he was getting his PhD in religious studies. they had three children. we got along great. koreans in general are polite, well behaved, socially aware of their own behavior and actions. their middle child, alex, however, in public often overstepped his bounds. his mom only let him interact with other children outdoors, rarely indoors. our apartments were so tiny that he rarely came over. there were a few occasions where they came over, once when they got locked out of the apartment and the campus police took three hours to respond and then in the depths of winter, he was at our house once. and it was the once you don't forget.

he was in awe of the toys at someone else's house, the food at someone else house, the movies we watched were different, it was a cultural thing mostly.

somehow the topic of holidays came up between him and grayce. i think grayce was around 4, and easton almost 2. alex, in his little korean accent spills to grayce the following:

alex: grayce, there is no santa claus. it is your parents. they go to wal-mart. they buy everything for you there. it is not santa. there is no easter bunny, there is none of that, it is ALL from the store.

grayce: well what about the the valentine's chicken? does he come to your house?!?!

alex: what?!?! the valentine's chicken? what does he bring you?

grayce: (she showed him her recent haul from our tradition) he comes and knocks on your door and runs away. he leaves you all this stuff of your doorstep for valentine's day. if you believe, it's real.

alex: oh man,..... (he stomps off angrily up the stairs)

i have always told my kids when they asked about the existence of magical traditions that as long as you believe, magic exists.

and i believe that.

as long as you believe, there is magic. i will never dispel, i will never bear any bad news, there will never be a talk.

magic happens when you believe, even a valentine's chicken.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


there was a situation that needed to be taken care of for a while and it had to do with my female body parts not wanting to cooperate. this is a situation i have dealt with for 19 years now. 18 years ago was my first surgery to remove the devil they named endometriosis. and while it's not the worst thing to happen it sure is not convenient. i went under the knife in October to have the stuff removed, again. this time it was causing the strangest symptoms. like i thought i had neck problems for a year and tried every chiropractor/massage/MRI/steroids solution possible.  and then i get referred to a specialist and he's like, hey you have endo growing on your diaphragm and that causes your neck to hurt, and let's take your appendix out because you have cysts rupturing on your right ovary and the statistics aren't in your favor of keeping the appendix happy while that business goes on. and i say, hey specialist, there are some other pains going on and they are strange so how about you investigate.

and so he does. and i wake up from surgery and no one looks at me sorrowful in the recovery before i can hear what i lost and what they found so i figure i will live. the report is that the endo was growing everywhere it could but not on my uterus and ovaries and that's a warm fuzzy. but also, an irritant. lucky am i because i have four kids and that is always an impossibility if this stuff attacks your major female parts. irritating because it causes the most awful pain and makes me think my necks a mess, i have weeds growing in my colon, my leg has a blood clot every month, and my ovaries could spontaneously com bust at any point.. good news, he burned the heck out of the enemy. only, it has kind of made everything worse and apparently it takes a while to heal and that was not on my planner. so there is this funk and mist that makes me cry when i can't do normal things or go a day without having to lay down. i think somewhere i read that that is not allowed if you are the mother.

and so days pass and i am "recovering" which involves everyone to constantly ask "how are you", "you don't look so good" and the like.

and i have come to a moral issue. i don't feel good most of the time now while my burns heal up and all, but man i don't want people knowing about it. i want to feel alive again. i want to forget about how torturous i feel and how hopeless it feels to think i might feel like this forever/another day. but when someone can see on  your face that you had a rough night that required medication, i don't want to lie. and so...

when the bishopric asked me if i would make breakfast for our ward christmas party in two weeks, i knew that god loves me. because really, i am mostly on invalid status as a mormon for a while. the relief society sometimes gets involved to help and that makes me feel real bad about what it's all come down to. but god, he knows me. he knows that while i don't have a lot of strengths of offer my LDS ward congregation, i can feed them. i know how to make a lot of tummies gathered at a ward house happy. and, i like doing it. he knows that for some reason, i took to the kitchen. i developed a talent as a young mother on a tight budget and i also developed a talent of recognizing how much god loves seeing us eat a meal together. how when there is a plate of food before us that someone filled with love and time, relationships are strengthened. you feel loved as you partake of good food. and god knew that i needed to be taken off the invalid list. when i was asked, i had been on my third sleepless/tear filled night because the recovery isn't complete. but when i was asked, i was able to ignore that misery better on behalf of my ward members breakfast needs. i was giddy thinking of a menu ALL BY MYSELF! the most tortured part of serving as a mormon is sometimes you have to have your rough edges knocked off by serving on food committees and that always opens it up to opinion. i get to say what, how, and they even let me choose the when (time of the party)! now, those are circumstances that will facilitate healing.

also, my mother helped me come up with a purpose to gathering for breakfast. we will fill trailers up with food for the local food bank. she was able to go to the facility and make a goal to help them no matter what! so we will ask our neighbors to help and bring a can of food and come share a meal. it will make christmas creep into all of our hearts and for sure heal wounds of many shapes and sizes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

old and young with a tale of football inbetween

this boy here to my right but your left is my youngest sibling. he is kyle and i am a fan. this is us watching a sunset together at bear lake 1 year ago. we both had sweet sunglasses and my sister in law documented it, thanks ash. i was a junior in high school when he was born and he was the cutest baby you have ever seen, minus the part where he was always vomiting. always. every morning before school, someone would have to go round up a new shirt if they held kyle. he has played a good caboose to our family. he is tough, and fun, and funny, and a superstar uncle.

in the summer of 2012 he decided to take up football. he is a generally athletic kid and his cousin ben was playing. he had never played on a football team before but he is a hard worker, really hard worker and he has some serious determination. 
i mentioned in my last post how it turns out he can play, well too. 
last friday we were at the football game. we watched good old weber high crush viewmont. crush them. the quarterback had 3 running touchdowns. kyle played hard but we noticed they were giving other players some time to get experience on the field.  fourth quarter came around and sure enough, the whole night kyle was wide open for a pass every play. we all wondered and waited to see if he would get the chance, the kid is a speed demon.
the perfect strike came. he caught it and ran 35 yards. there were two players from the opposing team waiting for him as he scored that touchdown. they crushed him. he went down so hard and even though it's football, it was mean to tackle someone after they made a touchdown. especially my little brother.  he was down and didn't move. instantly, the umpires started waving their hands frantically. the EMT's were instantly called onto the field. my kids were scattered all over the stadium with friends. scott ran down immediately as we thought it was a head and neck injury. then, my parents were fetched by screaming girls. i rushed down to the field as the stretcher was rolling onto the field.  
my dad starts hearing the crowd chant, get up kyle mcfarlane over and over.
 as i get down there, he is whooping and hollering and his arm is in a sling. that boy broke his arm as he was tackled down.
his version of the story is when he saw them coming to tackle him he closed his eyes and misjudged how close he was to the ground. as he was on the ground, the ump says to him - sweet touchdown. kyle's response was- thanks, i broke my arm.
that's why it was sheer panic instantly. 
kyle didn't cry. well, until coach hammer came up to the hospital and delivered the game ball to kyle. offensive player of the week. and he teared up when he realized he wouldn't be playing in the homecoming game. 
it took 12 screws to put both broken bones back together. and the PA assisting the case felt bad because almost everyone assisting in the surgery had been at the game and were a buzz with the sweet play.

some funny things that have to be documented.
as i got down on the field i could see kyle was going to be fine. his coping mechanism was humor. he is a stoic kid. quiet. but that night, he was cracking everyone up. his cousin ben, was above him on a crane videoing for the team. ben and kyle have been inseparable since birth and ben broke his collar bone the week before the football season started and was out. so, he films for the team. ben watched kyle's body on the ground and thought he was dead. until kyle yelled up to ben,- next week, me and you buddy! we are up there together. kyle instantly knew he was out for the season. 
he was so upset when he realized they had stopped the game to get him taken care of. he was yelling - drag me off, drag me off, keep playing! as he realized we were all pretty shaken up, he yelled, let me give a wave to the crowd, let me wave. and that he did.
his buddy jaden was lifted by his helmet by the defensive coach and told rather vulgarly to kill viewmont's offense for kyle. 
in the ER, he had everyone in stitches. scott went with my parents to the hospital to be the support and i thought that was appropriate as when people caring for you have a connection, they make sure things go more smoothly. scott knew almost everyone caring for kyle that night. the big rivalry game of BYU vs. UTAH was the next day and scott, kyle and easton had tickets. kyle found out which team the surgeon was cheering for (utah), and as he walked in the room to consult, kyle started sing/shouting: rise and shout, the cougars are out!! the ER doc happened to be the surgeon's bishop, and that always gives you a warm fuzzy that they were working together.

this picture appeared in the newspaper on the front page of the sports section a few weeks ago. kyle made a touchdown and it was amazing. easton mckay almost piddled his pants to see his uncle on the front page of the sports section the next morning. easton has been an avid newspaper reader since the beginning of kindergarten (his teacher suggested challenging him with big words, it's kind of like a religion now).

Weber High's Kyle McFarlane breaks away to score Weber's first touchdown of the night at Roy High School Friday, August 30, 2013. (DYLAN BROWN/Standard Examiner)

this was another great shot. 

Weber High's Kyle McFarlane carries the ball Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 at Weber High School. (DYLAN BROWN/Standard-Examiner)

i have pondered all of this. the why, the how. this kid has put his heart into something that he now has to stand back silently and watch knowing he is capable of performing. the team is slated to possibly be in play offs of some sort which is huge for weber high. and then part of me hopes my sons see that if you play football you will get your arm broken. cause, shoot. every time someone goes down, my heart palpitates abnormally and i feel like we are watching brutal carnage on a field with someones baby boy. but then, there's that thing about doing hard things in life. about having a good attitude with the cards your are dealt. about not being able to change a thing. my wise friend often stated, everything is as it should be. and now, he is in a different kind of sport. the kind that is quiet and unnoticed. his cousin ben has been engaged in it for two months.  he sits at every practice, every single team meeting, every game on the sidelines. he videos the games so the team can see where they need to improve. that is not playing sports, that is called being a sport. that is hard, and that is the refiners fire. it's grueling mentally and physically, wanting to play but not being physically able to. how lucky is kyle to have a buddy who has gone before him? i can only imagine the conversations that will take place on the large crane overlooking the field. and we will cheer for the film crew and not miss a game and be proud that kyle and ben are doing hard things.