Tuesday, October 09, 2018

A Challenge To Re-find and Refine Your Spiritual Gifts

Tonight, I spoke to you dear sisters about your special spiritual gifts and propensities. Sisters, I urge you, with all the hope of my heart, to pray to understand your spiritual gifts—to cultivate, use, and expand them, even more than you ever have. You will change the world as you do so.
As a starting place, I extended a prophetic plea to you to shape the future by helping to gather scattered Israel with four invitations. This gathering is the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth today!
My dear sisters, we need you! We need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices. We simply cannot gather Israel without you.
President Russel M. Nelson

I wonder if Facebook or Instagram "feels it" when President Nelson, Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints challenges all of the youth and then all of the women of the church to partake in a "Social Media Fast"? :)  I'll bet they do!! :) I sure have!!

President Nelson spoke in the General Women's Conference meeting Sunday night. During his talk he challenged the women to pull away from social media for ten days and spend the new found time focusing on revisiting and exercising our "spiritual gifts."  Within the hour after the closing prayer suddenly all of my Friends were "signing off."  I knew something important had taken place.

I hadn't been watching the Women's Conference because our internet had gotten bad. But you better believe I climbed back on and listened to what he had said.  I was touched by is message for sure!! I feel that I have been prepared for this for months. Just not quite able to make the leap and sacrifice. Honestly, my vice is Netflix and Binging on shows. ;)  So when he said to pull away from any media that wasn't helping us reach towards our potential, you better believe that's when I felt the pang and heard the hypothetical snapping fingers (DARN!!) And Leif's Snicker as he said "Your Netfilx!" I mean come on, Greys Anatomy is So Uplifting and Insightful for my spiritual growth!! NOT!! LOL! LOL! (eye roll!)

Sooo, here I am. Two days in, and I'm blogging and surviving. :) A little lonely for my outside world of friends and ongoing dialogue throughout the day. But I am grateful for the chance to go back in time about 8 years and reflect on how I am and WHO I am after being sucked into the vast and all consuming world of the internet. Its pretty profound. I have to say. I'm Thrilled to have this chance to make time to truly write again. Long, lengthy, pondering's. Where I puke out my whole life story onto the page. Instead of a little blurb here and there with a picture. The problem is, no one will be able to take the time to read all my ramblings anymore. LOL!  We've all lost the ability to just sit and read... and read... and read...to the end. I guess that's not all bad. I'll remember to hold back the real deep personal things I want recorded for posterity to the end of my posts. Knowing that they won't be read about as much. ;) Just Kidding.

My next goals are to seriously take time to read the scriptures every day. My own personal study time. Something I haven't done in Way Too Long!!

So, in the end, there is Absolutely Nothing wrong with the challenge that our prophet has issued. I know that it is from the Lord and if we take the extra time and use it to grow closer to Christ, we will be blessed with a reminder of our Grand Potential as Daughter's of a King!

Sunday, October 07, 2018

General Conference

TRADITION!!! (Insert music emoji) (Insert "Papa" from Fiddler On The Roof!" :) :)  We sure Love our family tradition of watching General Conference together. :) This General Conference proved to be another spiritually edifying and momentous one.  President Nelson seems to be ushering in a new season in the restoration of Christ's church here upon the earth. The Church is now world wide. More members living outside of the USA then within. And since The Church is run as a whole. Following the exact same process and procedures throughout the world within every stake, down to every ward and branch; new changes were made to accommodate. These changes feel sudden to some. But truthfully, they have been coming to past step by step, drop by drop, for many years. And changes may become the new normal as The Church continues to grow, and the world continues to change. The only constant on this earth, is CHANGE! 

Change doesn't mean that the past was wrong. It just means there is a New Right. So, now instead of attending church on Sunday for three hours (Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, Relief Society/Priesthood/Youth Classes) We will now follow a two hour meeting schedule. With one hour for partaking The Sacrament and speakers/council and one hour for another class. Rotating throughout the month.  With the changes comes an increased responsibility for us as parents to teach a new Family Centered gospel teaching curriculum within our homes at some point throughout the week. So, nothing surprising; just steppin' up The Game Plan a little bit. 

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Momentous Changes to Church Meetings

President Nelson announced today that church will only be two hours long. And we will be following a new curriculum as a family in place of that hour lost. "Home Centered, Church Supported gospel learning.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Tale of the Little Mama in a Grandma Body

I have had an outpouring of Love from my friends and ward members today. I wasn't able to make it to church today. And people noticed. And not only noticed, but Reached Out to see how I'm doing. That doesn't happen everwhere. Thank you Dear ones!!
Many have asked for an update about how I'm healing from my Shingles episode and all of the other crazy things going on with my body. So here it is, The Tale of the Little Mama in a Grandma Body. The saga continues:   First, the shingles rash is healed. The skin is still tender and itchy. In general, I am still experiencing quite a bit of pain throughout my body. Mostly in my elbows and hands. But that isn't new. It just feels more amplified. My left elbow is pretty intense. Also, without a lot of anti inflammatory meds I have waves of "hit by a truck" days. Days when only the bare minimum gets done.
School has started for the kids. I love it, of course. But the schedules are strange here. JJ gets out one hour before Caleb and Jakob. So I walk to the school with Joshua and we all hang out for an hour until everyone is out. It would be a great scenerio if I was in remission. However, since I'm not, I battle the sun and fatigue; from the basic walk, socializing, and updating with the kiddos. By the time we get home at 4. It's mandatory nap time before dinner.
Gratefully, my family is familiar with how life rolls when I'm down. But it's a tiny bit more complicated with a baby in the mix. 
So last week, I had two teeth break off at the gum line. Yep! You read that right. They broke right off. That's part of my journey these days. I have a hereditary condition that makes my teeth brittle. My siblings and I are at the point in our life where we can't put the inevitable off any longer. We have to rebuild our mouths. One sibling has crowned the teeth, another doesn't have the bone structure for the implants needed. So, dentures, it is. I meet with the dentist tomorrow to start deciding my fate. 
So you remember the brain/pituitary gland MRI my doc requested? Well, there wasn't a pituitary micro tumor. So we don't know why my prolactin level is high. But, they did find a cyst at the base of my brain.  Truth! It's in between my skull and my cerabellum. So it could be the cause of some of the headaches. And if I start getting dizzy, then we'll know why.
Are you wondering why I posted this with a pic of chocolate chip cookies? Well, that's because they are currently part of the strongest sweet chocolate craving I've battled in a Long time! I worried that I was diabetic again (was during pregnancy. ) But my blood sugar is fine and I'm not dying of thirst. But it's crazy hard to keep from eating a bucket of cookie dough in one day. The struggle is Real!!!  Hormones, chemicals, and their balance. It's a delicate art to get them balanced.
For now, I will finish this volume of The Tale of the Little Mama in a Grandma Body.   Heaven knows it's been long enough. Have no fear friends. All is well, enough. It could all be so much worse. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Divided. Flourish.

Divided. My life is divided into many many different pieces. Places, people, passions, hobbies, responsibilities, trials, goodness, mother, wife, sister, daughter, close friend, social media friend, church member, school member. And on, and on. I am divided. I long for the islands. I love the convenience of city life on the coast. I miss my quiet life with family and farm animals. Storms rolling in and green pastures. I love following everyone as we write tiny blurbs and share a pic with each other throughout the week. I miss long blog posts and heartfelt discussion. I love Netflix. I miss reading.
My goal is to find who I am NOW. HERE. and to Flourish.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Happy Birthday Leif

HAPPY BIRTHDAY  today to the Love of my life!! Leif Baron there are no words to completely express how much you mean to me. Thank you for bringing so much joy to my world and to all who you come in contact with. I Love You!

Happy 39th Papa!

Celebrating Papa's birthday at the beach. We had such a great couple of days with him during his days off. The boys shopped for special gifts (Jakob got him a Massaging roller. JJ got Life Savers, because Leif is a "life saver" and Caleb got him a Lava Lamp.) We ended the party with a trip to Sizzler for all you can eat shrimp for Papa. The kids have officially declared it their favorite restaurant. Which is a gift in itself. We Love You Papa!!! You're your son's Best Friend. Who could ask for more!?

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Grateful for Strength

Before I fall asleep tonight I am finally going to take a moment and sing praises to my Father in Heaven who saw fit to restore my strength after years of illness and fatigue. Every single day I find myself at least once, often more, in awe at how it feels to be able to care for my family completely. My life is not without its challenges. But my heart's desire was granted after years of pleading for the ability to be well enough to truly live, and raise my children. For this blessing I am forever grateful to my Lord!! #Hehearsourprayers  #Histimingissure  #nevernevernevergiveuphope

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Facebook is the New Blog

How sad that it's been SOOO Long since I've updated this blog!!!  Luckily I have life documented elsewhere. But I shouldn't let it slip like this. It doesn't help that I started writing on a new blog for our latest adventure.

I'm pregnant again. Thrilled!! But still often wonder What the He*l we were thinking getting back to this part of life's journey. But this baby wants a body relentlessly. And after years of not being able, a miraculous healing, months of praying, professional counseling we began the sojourn of bringing another baby into this world. His story can be followed on www.MamasEndlessWhisper.blogspot.com

Otherwise, we still live with family in Alton. Leif is working at all of the local hospitals in the region. The kids LOVE School! Our pony passed away due to old age. Our goats have all given birth except for one who is due any time. We Love our world. My only struggle is the absolute remoteness of where we live. One Hour OVER A MOUNTAIN to get to Walmart and TWO HOURS to the temple and Costco. I'm trying to hang on through this part of the journey and focas on the many positives we have to be grateful for.

Life is Good! NOT EASY, but Good!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Family Update: Air Force - Homestead - and the Priesthood

We have created our new "Normal" here in Alton, Utah.  We've all finally acclimated to the higher elevation and can breath much better. Our skin and noses are still very much missing the humidity. But that will come in time as well and we will move on to acclimating to the Cold temperatures that are quickly approaching. Life is good here.

Months ago Leif went through the process of applying to become a Medical Officer in the USAF. Everything was complete except the interview with the Chief Nurse. Hawaii was going through a change in command and he wasn't able to meet with someone before he had to leave the island for his new work contract in California. He had warned his recruiter in advance that he would be probably be relocating to CA and was assured that there wouldn't be a shake up in his application process. Well, that wasn't true. When he arrived in California his Hawaii recruiter passed him a name and phone number and dropped him like a rock. That person was on Leave and the time came and went for the process to be completed with no further communication or answers to Leif's calls. Therefore, the journey of the Air Force life will not be in our future within this year. And most likely, not ever. 

It has been years since I have felt the drive and peace about settling down and establishing some roots. We feel that now. I don't know what the future holds. But at least I know that I won't have to pack us all up within the year and move again.  The kids are thriving in their new school. And I Love working with our animals and land on our little family homestead.

Leif is working hard in California and has extended his contract through February.  From there, I'm not sure what his career path will be. We miss him often. But are settled in here and find a lot of joy with Erik and Stacey and their daughter Victoria. I'm able to handle the every day challenges three weeks out of my cycle and one week is a nightmare filled with a lot of loneliness and anxiety.  But we know the pattern and are able to work through it with the love and support of Heaven and family around us. 

I still revel in the miracle of renewed health and strength. This weekend I was able to toss logs for splitting for a couple of hours as well as bales of hay to feed the animals. Along with mothering duties and caring for the animals. Strength like that still humbles me and fills me with gratitude and amazement. 

Jakob turned 12 years old in August and Leif was able to come home and ordain him to the Aaronic Priesthood. This was a very special event in Jakob's life and he takes it very seriously. He is a precious son of God with a tender heart, willing to do what is right. I feel blessed to be his mother. 

Within this month I was able to find the Miniature Shetland Pony of my dreams. He has been a great soothing distraction for me. As well as a blessing for JJ, who loves to ride and care for him. 

We are very blessed and I feel our Father in Heaven's hand in my life daily. Without Him, I would be lost and wandering in a hard, hard, journey. Praise Be, to Him!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hold to the Light - Live for It - Fight for It

Today I'm pondering the power and difference between Light and Dark. Sometimes we receive negative (dark) information, opinions, and "facts" about some one or something that we individually have already felt Light, Peace, Edification, Completion, etc, about. When we receive this new information that does not resemble these feelings of enlightenment we Must Remember the feelings, answers, and peace, The Light, that we have already felt prior to the new-found "information". And Cast Not Away Our Confidence in the Light and Knowledge we were already given. We must hold on to Light and pray through the storms of doubt and confusion that will surly come through time. Light is Always fought against by Dark. Hold On to that which brings Light, Peace, Edification, and Completion. And in time, Light will prevail and grow. Darkness will fade away. #FightForLight

Surrounded by Beauty and Joy - Yet Incomplete

There is a common struggle that we face as spouses separated by Deployment or Employment Abroad. There's not really a name for it, other than maybe "Incomplete Joy."  I am faced with the fact that I am surrounded by nature's majestic beauty and the excitement that comes from living on a homestead in the mountains of Southern Utah. But even with all of the glory that surrounds me, at times I'm unable to completely feel the joy that it emanates. I am incomplete. And there is only one explanation for the way I feel. My husband isn't here to share it with me. The joy, the beauty, the new life...

This can go both ways really. It can cause a lot of friction if not kept in check. One spouse may be experiencing an African safari while the other is wrestling the crazy kids on the home front. Or, like us, one may be preparing to bring home the new bottle calves for the boys to raise or living on the beach in Hawaii while the other is working double overtime to pay off the bills and create a savings. It's very easy to build up resentment towards each other in these situations. In my world, I try hard to fight against that resentment when it comes, and the result sometimes tends to be loneliness. Not despair. Just a sense of sadness that Leif's not here with us to relish in the joys we're experiencing.

We're looking at another four months of separation with a mini vacation to Missouri in between. We've tackled one month so far. Today it feels A Lot longer then one month. Wow! I shouldn't have done that math. ;) The daily grind makes it feel so much longer.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Making the Adjustment - Moving From Hawaii to Utah

We left Hawaii and landed on the mainland last week. I am so grateful we've moved to a beautiful place. Because I miss the Ocean, Terribly! The spiritual and healing energy that the ocean emanates soothes me to the core. I can feel its absence. I am trying very hard to fill my soul with the beauty and goodness that surrounds us here. I hope it will take affect soon. The fact that we've moved from 13 feet elevation to over 7,000 feet elevation has thrown myself (and the boys') bodies for a loop as well. Caleb put it perfectly when out of the blue while playing on a playground here he said "the gravity is different here."  He's right. The elevation creates a big difference and adjustment for our sensitive bodies. I'm trying to shake the fatigue and rekindled aches in my joints.

But with this all being true, there is stunning beauty around us and so much goodness! It's hard to explain in words the beauty. It's SO QUIET! There's lush green mixed with red rock cathedral shaped mountains that encircle the acres of farm land that we live on. The town of Alton has a population of just over 100 people. True Story! Tomorrow we have to go grocery shopping. We will have to drive over the Cedar Mountain to get to a Wal-Mart. It will take us almost 2 hours to get there. Praise Be for Amazon Prime which ships in two days. Otherwise, we save a lot of money because of the lack of access to shopping and restaurants.

I'm working on creating a healthy routine here. One of my biggest fears is the haunting possibility of depression due to the solitude and cold weather/lack of sun light that's just around the corner, next month. My sister in law (Stacey) and I have been walking in the morning with a neighbor. It is Absolutely Beautiful! This will probably be a life line. I'm pondering buying a treadmill to put up in front of the bay window during the winter. Yes, right in the middle of the living room. :) I'm thinking about getting two so that Stacey and I will both be able to exercise easily even during the harsh cold.

Every time we move I have to make a Very Conscious effort to remember the "tricks" I've figured out to staying well. First and foremost, I HAVE to take my medication and nutritional supplements every single day! Second, I must use music to motivate me to move forward during the day if I get stuck too long. Third, I must be able to at least see the nature around me, and see and feel the sunshine. Finally, I MUST feed myself Spiritually.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Must Have Chocolate!

It's sad that the busiest, most important week of the month has to fall right during this time frame of "my month"  Marge came with a vengeance last night precisely at 5PM. Marge is my evil twin. She battles anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and brain fog. All to a maximum!  The switch is always noticeable and still after all of this time, Shocking!

The fact that I'm on my own, packing up the troops, and Caleb is practically unmedicated make it all almost too much. But the blessing that gets me through is that I know that it will pass and the next phase, though filled with migraines and Iron supplements, is better than "Marge." It all passes. It all changes. And just knowing that it's not going to be permanent makes it bearable.

I picked up the kids from school today and we went to the grocery store. We were all really hungry. We walked out (almost forgetting the milk) with bags filled with frozen pizzas, mint chocolate chip ice cream, frozen burritos, a symphony candy bar and a Reese's Peanut butter Cup to top it all off.  Yes, like I said, Marge was in charge. :)

Well, the troops are asleep now. So I'm going to call it a night. Thank you Xanex and chocolate for saving all of us tonight!

Monday, August 08, 2016

Seriously!? The Lunch Lady TOOK Your Lunch Away!?

Eating struggles are nothing new for us. JJ has Sensory issues and Caleb struggles with the desire to eat and the ability to stop and take the time to eat, as well as the ability to open everything in a timely manner if needs be. We have only had ONE school who was able to truly work with us and accommodate Caleb's needs for supervision and assistance during lunch and that was our beloved Carthage Elementary in Missouri.  How I miss them!

Caleb will only be attending this school in Hawaii for a handful of days. Otherwise, the story I am about to share would be carried out a lot more then it is going to be at this time. However, the situation is definitely disturbing and they WILL get some education from me, if I can help it.

Caleb's been attending school now for over a week. And every day he has come home with his entire lunch that I sent him completely untouched, or only very little eaten. When I've asked him why, his most common answer was that he didn't have enough time to eat. Another answer was that he just wasn't hungry or didn't like what I sent. Either way, he was spending the day in school having eaten very little. So I resorted to my "Go-To" meal.

When I need to pump nutrition (vitamins, protein, carbs, and calories) into Caleb quickly I will give him a chocolate nutritional shake.  Knowing that it doesn't carry the entire day's nutrition in that one can, but at least I can guarantee that he will get that much.  So I gave Caleb this shake for lunch this morning. Knowing that he would drink it. I even suggested that he ask the lunch lady for help opening it instead of wasting time trying to open it himself. That was the big mistake.

According to Jakob, who was "the office worker" in the office today (whatever the heck that means.) He overheard the office ladies talking about his brother Caleb. He said that when the lunch lady saw what I had sent for Caleb she took it away from him right away, telling him that it wasn't a "Healthy Choice." She then took him to the school lunch line and was told to get a lunch. Mind you, I purposely sent all of my boys with home lunches while in Hawaii because I had food I needed to use up, and I didn't want to deal with balances when it came time to leave the island. So there was no money in the account when Caleb got this lunch.

After the lunch was over, Jakob (who was the delivery boy for the office) was then asked to deliver a "Negative Funds" notice to Caleb to give to me. On it is hand written the words, "Please Pay" with no other explanation of why in the world I have this balance to pay. I wouldn't have a clue if Jakob hadn't overheard. And Caleb isn't able to recall the details of the entire situation.

I was able to get a few details out of Caleb though. He said that the lunch lady took his lunch and told him it wasn't "food."  He kept saying, "Mom! You need to send me FOOD next time!" Yeah, thanks for the help and reinforcement school. Now Caleb questions whether or not I know how to feed him properly. Fabulous!!

When I asked where the shake was he said he threw it away. I asked if he had drank it. He said that he only ate the salad, the green beans, and the carrots from the school lunch. Just like I knew, no protein or calories for energy. Anyway, he said when he got to class his teacher had a "strange" talk with him about not bringing this kind of lunch. But somewhere between then and getting out of class she let him drink the shake.  When I asked if she sent me a note to tell me not to send the shake again, he said "YES!!" and he handed me the Negative Balance slip. Nice!

So, needless to say I was beyond Mad!! I was Furious. For so Many Reasons!! I think the main reason was that I had tried to help Caleb, but also tried to make their life easier by sending the shake. And they made me feel like a terrible mother. I could have called earlier and told them that I wanted them to watch my child extra during lunch and make sure he ate. But I chose to try this instead of making them think I was pinning blame on them. Which I'm not. Him eating isn't a new problem and I was sending a solution. But they are ignorant of how to handle such a Special Needs situation, i guess. Which is sad in and of itself.

So, what am I going to do?
Well, tonight I'm exhausted after a VERY long day. What I want to do is send the shake again having written on it, "Don't you DARE take this away from Caleb. Call me if you have a problem with that!!"  What I am Really going to do is, send the drink and write on it "This is Caleb's lunch. Please do not take it away or send him through the school lunch line. Please call me if you have any questions. Mahalo! Lena"  I will also write a note to Caleb's teacher explaining the situation in detail and ask her to call me if needs be. I will also reassure her that Caleb gets plenty of food in the morning and in the evenings, including vitamins to do our best to help him stay healthy.

Life as a mother with more then one child on the Autism Spectrum and ADD is incredibly wearisome! We battle the ENTIRE day for one reason or another. Sometimes it is very tempting to just gather in the troops from the public, hunker down, and survive on our own. But in the end, that is selfish and unhealthy for the kids and for us. But it's tempting. The desire to RETREAT!!!

I will not retreat! I will carry on. Tomorrow is another day. In fact, I'm going to the beach. So all is well in the world, right!?

JJ's First Day of School in Hawaii

JJ FINALLY started school today in Hawaii!! He will be able to attend for one week before we fly to Utah. 
I checked the mail on the way home from dropping them off. It looks like JJ will have a special surprise (a letter from Papa) when he gets home from his first day. :) 


So this isn't a picture of me but it will have to work.  This is Leif writing this post.

So last night I decided I would surprise Lena and write on her Blog first this morning.  I hope she wasn't to disappointed when I called last night that I didn't mention I was going to write.

So all night I was dreaming and thinking of a bunch of wonderful ideas on what I should share...then I woke up.  So I guess I better go back to bed to see if I can get them back!

Just kidding.

I'm not near as articulate as Lena nor is it as easy for me to share the feelings.  Thoughts maybe...in fact, if you know me you probably wonder when I will I stop babbling.  But this is especially hard in writing for me.

Looking back, I think I know were that may stem from as I psycho-analyze myself.  If you want to know just ask.

Anyway, back to Lena.  She is an awesome woman! She is strong is so many ways! I believe some of her fears and anxieties come from me being so "laid back" or able to "roll with anything."  She often says if I passed away she would need to be committed to a mental institution, but I would just move on if she passed away.  First off this is false.  Yes it would be hard on Lena but as I said before she is strong and she may never "move on" she would continue caring for the kids and progressing.  She knows that I want I would want her to do; Live a wonderful life and learn and give as much as she could. Now it scares me to death (no pun intended) the thought of her passing away.  Not just the responsibility of caring for the children but it would be such a trial of my faith.  Though I'm not good with words or expressing my love, I do love her very, very,very much! Along with Christ, she is my foundation.

Now, onward to new and better subjects! Well, I guess separation isn't a better subject, but getting to be closer together is definitely a better one. With the separating, I hope everyone knows that Lena has the raw end of the deal.

Leif's Life: Work. Work Hard. Work Much. Learn Much at work. Befriend managers, so they let me work much...Then on days off:  Don't spend money. Exercise. Lose weight for possible Air Force. Do laundry and dishes for 1 person. Assist Lena with anything I can do long distance.

Lena's Life. (Much abbreviated)    Be a mother of 3 highly energetic and needy children. Do all the healthcare and medications for those children. Enroll them in school, take them, help them with their homework.  Keep on on a house of 4 people while also preparing for a move. Have NO days off. Prepare meals for said children with the hopes that 2 out of 3 will actually like and take the time to eat it. Try to stay healthy and loose weight to keep up with husband who seems to be doing it no problem. Try to provide for the kids and herself while being broke and counting pennies for those necessities that are needed. This list could go on and on.

So this brings us to the near future.  Lena will be flying to AZ/UT soon to stay with family! But I will get to visit for a couple of days though.  I feel very blessed that Lena and the kids will get to stay with my brother and family.  The picture above just feels my heart with Joy.  It is my brother taking Caleb on the riding lawn mower.  My brother is so patient and a great father and example.  My kids will learn so much from being around their uncle and aunt.  I wish I could just go live with them too!

Also, in the near future we are not going to be so broke.  Hopefully with all this working hard that I'm try to do it will pay off.  Now, don't go thinking we will be "rolling in the dough," because we won't.  It will take at least a month just to pay off Lena getting here, shipping the van, and just catching up on bills that are past due. We are hoping by the end of Sept we will actually start paying of some old bills and maybe start saving a little again.

So I've started to babble....I guess it is time for me to sign off. Time to clean up a little and do my chores.  Thanks for supporting Lena's blog everyone!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

The Emotional Cycle of Seperation

Leif and the boys coloring over Skype 2012

Today during Sunday School I was taken back to the days leading up to Leif's first time moving away from our family. I remembered the raw emotion of the situation and the complete heartache I felt about him leaving. It was close to my worst nightmare coming true. He was leaving. And my mind and heart could hardly carry on.  I remember sobbing every day and night before he left.

Today we watched a video about a wife who was faced with a similar situation when her husband was called up to deploy to the Middle East with the National Guard.  She tells about the raw heartache and shock that she experienced and the utter fear of not being able to carry the load alone. She then shared her story of the One moment when she was eventually able to put her trust in the Lord's plan and how beautiful the journey became in the end.

Unlike this woman, there isn't One moment that I can remember when I suddenly felt all better and all trusting during that year that Leif was gone to school. However, I know without a doubt that I was carried, and the mercy of God was upon me as I carried on the best that I could. Day by day, week by week, month by month, I grew into the woman that my Father in Heaven knew I was. A wife and Mother who can, in fact, do hard things!

During our lesson, which has been a special lesson series focused on the needs of military families and others (like us) who often face times of separation. We discussed a list of symptoms that couples often face as they prepare for the time of separation. The list presented was Spot On.

Detachment and Withdrawal  -Last week before departure - Spouses may feel anger and create emotional distance - Spouses have mixed feelings and try to protect themselves from hurt - Family members may experience grief - Feelings of detachment or withdrawal may accompany the whole period of separation

Our first time apart was torture for me because Leif unintentionally detached himself from us in varying degrees throughout the year. And me, being severely co-dependent, fought the feelings of rejection
constantly.  And again, gradually I was able to overcome these feelings and realize that there was no rejection taking place. We both grew tremendously that year. But I will never deny that it was the hardest year on our marriage so far in our journey.

Leif and I kept a private blog together that year titled "Love Letters Along the Way."  In the beginning I'm sad to say, it is filled with sob stories, rants, and pity parties from me. However, gradually it became a place where we were able to share our love through posting songs to each other. It was also a place we were able to share our testimonies, our hopes, and words of encouragement for one another.

At the close of our lesson I was filled with the reminder that there truly is Hope in all things! Through the strength we gain from our Savior and our support network of friends and family, we can do all that is required of us.

“I testify that as you do your very best in the most difficult of human challenges, heaven will smile upon you. Truly you are not alone. Let the redemptive, loving power of Jesus Christ brighten your life now and fill you with the hope of eternal promise. Take courage. Have faith and hope. Consider the present with fortitude and look to the future with confidence” (“Faith, Fortitude, Fulfillment: A Message to Single Parents,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 39). 

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Up and Running: Come and Visit - The More the Merrier

I'm hoping Leif might join in the fun of my renewed blogging adventure. So I'm having fun with photos. My posts (that don't already have pics) will have my picture on them. And (hopefully) Leif will be willing to post with his picture on his. It's just a fun way to tell whose writing at a glance. Plus it gives me a chance to see him more often!:)

I've been working on updating the blog throughout this morning. I'm looking forward to the journey. It feels kinda like Coming Home. I hope all of my Facebook friends will come on over for a visit sometimes. However, the reason I'm writing again is because I'm finally back to the point in my mind where I'm writing for the right reasons again. I'm writing for myself, my family, and with the hopes of strengthening those who visit, NOT for validation. This is very important.

Friday, August 05, 2016

The Run Down of Being Apart

This morning Leif called me to tell me that our Suburban was broken into last night (in California, where he is) and they stole the back seat out of it.  NICE! - Not!!  He spent the majority of the day working with police, insurance, and purchasing a new seat. Grrr!!  He'll keep all of the seats in his apartment until he drives out for a family visit. This world and it's dishonesty is hitting too close to home too often these days!! :(  Leif was also working out payroll problems with his company for half of the day. Luckily it all got worked out.

Families get used to dealing with "work" issues separately and then coming together and dealing with "home" issues.  So when the family is separated (not due to divorce) it's a juggling act to try to Make Time to come together and find a connection somehow.

Today Leif and I called back and forth a lot. He was off work. So we checked in a lot and kept each other posted. We wanted to make a chance to sit down and watch "Our Show" together (currently Hawaii Five-O.) It didn't happen today. But when it does, we get each other on the phone and log on to Netflix. We do the best we can to sync it exactly so we're watching it together. It's ALMOST as good as being together. When the boys got home from school today we called Leif on Skype after Jakob finished his homework. Leif then read Jakob Harry Potter for a while.  And then it was Leif's bedtime.

Leif and I set a health challenge up together before he left. Nothing too official. But we check in throughout the day with each other and compare notes. We knew that Leif would be losing the most weight this time because I've hit a bit of a stall. And he sure has lost weight! He's doing Amazing! Between the exercise and eating right he's meltin' off the pounds and building muscle. And yes, Looking Good!! ;)  Me, well, I'm exercising more then ever and trying to build muscle. That doesn't necessarily make the scale a friend sometimes. But tomorrow's another day.

Being apart is Tough!! Lonely. Life gets monotonous. Same routines, same phone conversations. Only broken up by crisis, discussions about bills. finances, and crazy kid stories. It's hard to keep it all together in a positive light.  So far, right now, we're alright.  We all pray a lot. We try to keep things as light-hearted as possible.  Luckily for us, we'll have times together to look forward to every once in a while.

Behind the scenes, I think Leif's main past time is getting healthy and fit and communicating with us. During my down time I have been watching the show Criminal Minds. The behavioral analysis shows have always drawn me in. And this on doesn't cause me to feel depression. However, I took a break today and started listening to an Audio Book. Don't ask me the name right now. But it's a historical fiction with no murder and plenty of christian values and romance. :) So I'm trying to keep the Light on within and without as much as possible.

Tomorrow's another day. A Saturday. It will be interesting to find out what it holds.
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