Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas One and All

As this magical time of year has come upon us in full force, I have felt positively inspired to send out a Christmas letter.  This will be the second letter I have ever sent out in the course of David and I’s 9 years of marriage.  Look for another in about 5 years.

Well, what has this year brought the David and Lora Sullivan family?

For Ben.  It has brought his continued existence which was no easy feat at times.  He turned 2 in February and though I love him dearly, it has brought its own unique set of challenges.  Ben has learned that it is in fact not okay to run around naked even though he is so proud of himself for being able to de-diaper his cute little bum all by himself.  He has learned the meaning of time-out much to his chagrin and momma’s delight.  He has learned to work the television and the dvd player on his own (I’m still not sure if I should be proud of this fact) but thankfully Netflix still remains a mystery of buttons to him else the mind numbing sounds of George’s Halloween Boofest would be haunting me even more than it does already… oh the horror!

All is not discouraging though.  He is talking up a storm and has also learned the sheer delight that it is to sneak up on someone to give them a good fright which makes this momma’s heart melt.  He also has a healthy grasp on the letter “W” and knows that if you turn an “M” upside down it too becomes a “W”!!  Which is why he so often turns the hymnbook upside down during church as well as looks at some signs with his head tilted.

For me this year has been full of changes and I sometimes marvel that we have all survived.  Or rather that everyone has survived me!  I am expecting our second child which we received through the miracle of modern medicine.  Say what you will about it, but IVF has brought both our children into our home and I’m truly grateful for the doctors and nurses who make it all possible as well as the angel that blessed us financially to be able to pursue it once again.  That being said, if any of you have gone through this process… wowza!  One of David’s accomplishments this year really is surviving his hormone hyped up wife and that was all just to get pregnant.  I’m not sure how he handles things now, though he does spend a lot of time in his office.  Hmmm.

So my accomplishments this year include: surviving injections with flying colors, not killing anyone close to me during the process, and making it out of bed every day to at least get my son dressed. Dressing myself seems to be optional these days. I have also mopped my floor at least a dozen times, dusted the entire house all at once, and I even thought really hard about planting a garden. 

Now for David. The saint.  I mentioned his survival of me earlier which earns him a plethora of brownie points in heaven I’m sure.  He still enjoys his job and even got a raise this year, woo-hoo!  It was just enough to cover the upcoming raise in our insurance rates!  He survived his 3-year stint in scouts and is now enjoying his new calling as High Priest Group Secretary and I enjoy having him home more often.  He is still working part time at CAPSA which he also enjoys for more than just the work.  Since his regular job has him working from home his outings to CAPSA give him a chance to get out of the house which is also nice.

That pretty much sums up our lives at this point.  However I would be remiss in not mentioning my love for this time of year and the reason that it is so special.  I know that Christmas has been commercialized to death and that part is not my favorite.  But I do love that it is a chance to show each other that you care.  The chance to find the gift that will delight.  The chance to share with a gift the love that we feel.  I know that it is something we should do all year and some are better at it than others.  But still, even if this is the only time we put someone else above ourselves I am grateful for the one time.  The one time that most people around us are feeling the magic of the season just the same as we are.

May God bless you all this season and this coming year.  May we all do a little better and love each other a little more.

With love,

David, Lora, and Ben

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Logan 12th Ward Super Saturday

The Logan 12th ward Relief Society Activity is coming up!

This Saturday
November 22, 2014
11am - 3 pm
Open House style so you can come and go as you please.

A light lunch and nursery will be provided and if you want to bring some treats to share, please do!

Money for this activity is due by Wednesday the 19th.  You can give it to anyone in the Relief Society Presidency or on the activities committee and they'll get it to the right person.  

And for those who don't know who that is, the RS Presidency is made up of:  Ellen Millburn, Susan Speedy, Lora Sullivan, and Sharla Goring.

The activities committee is: Kathrin Fore, Peggy Ramsten, Felecia Kimber, Jennie Pakalani, and Natalie Montgomery.

If you would like to order any of the items listed below please email or call me (Lora) so I can get it on the list.  
Email:  Call: 435-774-0074  or 
Text 435-760-5639

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why I Did It

I changed my profile picture of Facebook.

It may look like I followed the crowd.

It may look like I'm just trying to do something cool to "fit in" with what could be seen as the "cookie cutter" Mormon crowd.

It may look like I didn't put much thought into it and just decided to change it on a whim.

None of that is true.

For those of you who don't know where it comes from, there was an even created on Facebook called I'm a Mormon profile picture week.  You can find it here.  I was invited through someone and honestly thought at first that it was just one of those silly things that people do for no real reason.  Something to put us all in the same round hole whether you are shaped that way or not.  A giant "Gooooo Team!" right after General Conference. As I read the details though there seemed to be a bit more to it. 

The person who created it stated that "My hope is that you will participate and invite all of your Latter-day Saint Facebook friends to do so as well. Those not of our faith on Facebook may be surprised to discover they know someone who is "Mormon". And I pray that through that simple thing, sincere questions will be asked and gospel related conversations will be had. Together, we can help bring people closer to Jesus Christ and His restored gospel."

I liked the idea.  I liked what it could do.  But I still wasn't sure I would do it.  Not until I heard Elder David A Bednar's talk on Sunday afternoon.  Lest you should think otherwise he did not say to join this movement.  He just said something that pricked my heart.  A few things really.

His talk was about sharing the gospel.  He said in so many words that sharing what has helped us in our lives is not unusual.  We do it all the time in many different ways.  We share pictures of things that make us laugh, stories that bring joy, household products that helps us clean better.  I mean come on people, we live in a world of sharing everything and we have the power to do so at our fingertips.

And yet.

When it comes to sharing the most important things in my life, I hesitate.  Not because I don't think they are worth sharing but because I'm afraid of being mocked, of having my heartfelt words and experiences trampled upon.  I don't actually know anyone who would really do that but the fear is still there.  And that's just silly.  Silly but not.

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I love it.  I love the role that it plays in my life.  I love the simple pure teachings of Jesus.  His love.  His compassion.  His courage.  His example.  I love and am so very grateful for the compassion and mercy that he shows towards me.  The compassion and mercy that I have felt and cannot deny.  

My life has not been easy.  No one's life is really when you get down to it.  We all have trials and times in our lives that make us show our metal.  We all have hard decisions to make, sometimes daily.  We all have experiences that are difficult whether of our making or not.

I used to go through some of these things and shake my fist at the heavens.  Wonder why they were happening to me.  What had I done to deserve these things.

And yet.

The things that have made me shake my fist are some of the very things that have caused me to learn and grow the most.  They have brought me closer to Christ and God.  They have brought me more peace than I thought possible.  While going through the trial it's often difficult to see the whole picture.  Really difficult.  However, as I look back on my life I can't help but see so many tender mercies.  So many things that I thought had gone wrong were really so very right.  I can see God's hand in so many things.  Enough to know that as I walk forward now, not seeing clearly the path before me, I know that I will be alright.  I know that as long as I do my best to follow Christ, to love those around me, to serve, to have compassion, to give the benefit of the doubt, to show mercy... God will take care of me and my family. He will light my path and help me become who he needs me to be.  Who he wants me to be.  

I know there will be more trials, more stretching of my faith and more times that I may be tempted to shake my fist.  But I also know that God is in the heavens and he has not forgotten us.  I know of his love and his intimate interest in my life and desire for my welfare.  And I know that it is not exclusive to me.  He is interested in all of his children, which is all of you.

I am a Mormon.  A Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I love it.  I live it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Most Eloquent Prayer

I have a friend who has a friend who has a perfect child.  A child that is kind and considerate and says thoughtful and meaningful prayers at the age of 3.  Prayers that make you say to yourself, "Man I'm glad I have this child, how lucky am I!"

As I listened to my friend who has the friend (confusing no?) the competitive mamma inside of reared up and thought "Eloquent prayers out of your child... I'll give you eloquent prayers out of a child.  Move over sister, a new kid is taking over."  And to prove it, I've decided to share a transcript of my child's eloquent and meaningful prayer at the young and tender age of 2 1/2 years.


Mom: Ben, would you like to say your prayers before bed?

Ben: No.

Ben falls facedown on the ground and doesn't move.  Mom takes this as a sign that he's ready to pray.  She leans over and whispers in his ear.

M: Heavenly Father
B: silence

M: Thankful for this day
B: Nice

M: Thankful for our home.
B: Nice

M: Please helps us be nice
B: silence

M: Help us to sleep well.
B: Sleep

M: In the name of Jesus Christ
B: looks at mom in frustration and says Daddy!

M: repentant of her neglect of family says Please bless Daddy
B: Daddy

M: Please bless Mommy
B: silence

M: Please bless Mommy
B: silence

M: In the name of Jesus Christ
B: looks at mom in frustration and says Toys!

M: Thankful for our toys
B: trucks

M: Thankful for our trucks
B: Nice

M: In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen
B: sigh

There you have it my friends.  He's a natural!  Perhaps someday I'll even make it into his prayers!  A mother can only hope.

M: smile Ben!
B: No.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Some Things About My Child

I have learned some things about my child.  Some necessary and sanity saving things.  Some things that from the outside looking in, might seem like I have no control over my child and there was a time when I would have agreed completely.  Thankfully for myself and for Ben, my understanding has changed.

Take today for example.  Today we were at Charlie's Ice Cream with friends.  It was a large group and there were only a few others who came in after we had settled down with our ice cream so we pretty much had the joint to ourselves.  There was music on the jukebox and the children were playing.  Ben was dancing to the tunes and running around playfully.  (Now I say playfully because I understand that to him, that's what it is.)  He was laughing and occasionally squealing with delight as other children played with him.  He squeals with delight if anyone, adult or child, plays with him.

After several rounds and the recapturing of shoes, David and I tried to contain the bundle of energy that is our son and head home.  He went down for a nap almost immediately.  There was one more round of chasing to be done before the diaper could be changed and he was ready for a nap.

As I sat in Charlies wondering at the energy of my son, I also marveled at how much I have come to accept him.  Not to be confused with "giving up" on him.  But really accepting who he is.  Before he was part of our lives I would never have even imagined myself letting a child run around a restaurant.  That's just not what you let your kids do.  They need to sit quietly and respectfully, not interrupting anyone else.  In fact I would have passed judgement on those who did.

But now?  Now I have Ben.  He is not anything special, he just has more energy in his little toe than I have in my whole body some times.  So here are the things that I have learned and come to love about my child.

1.  He needs to be social. He thrives off of it.  He is friendly and open and makes friends easily wherever he goes, no matter the age.  1-100 he's there to say hello and make a friend. When I keep him in the house too long (not in hours but in days) he starts to wither.  If we go more than 2 days without contact with other people, he starts to get ornery and whiny.  I've even thought he must be sick or something physical was bothering him, but the second he is in contact with someone else he's a changed person, especially if there is someone new to play with.  And I really mean the second.  He will practically drag friends away from their parents to go play with him.

2.  He needs to keep things light and playful.  He picks up quickly on whether I'm upset or even just too serious.  He tries to do things to put a smile on my face and lighten the mood around him.  This is especially apparent when he is in trouble for doing something wrong.  He quickly tries to divert attention to something that usually makes me laugh or smile. I used to think that he was trying to get out of being disciplined but have since learned that it's not the discipline but the "heaviness" of it all.  He wants me to be happy.  If I come down too harsh on him during these times I will not be able to reach him to help him understand what he has done wrong because he will be too busy trying to get me to smile again.  When I back off a little and take him to task gently, he's more likely to listen and make changes to his behavior.

3.  He needs to move.  Not likes or prefers, but actually needs to move.  It is who he is.  I simply cannot expect him to sit completely still during church.  I can expect him to be quiet during church. He can do reverent activities, but to just sit still?  Impossible.  It's like he has a quota of energy that needs to be expended every day.  He needs to take so many running steps, jump so many times, bounce and cavort around the room and crash into things with great vocal gusto.  He needs to move and shake and play and be happy and creative.

All of these things that I love about my child have been a challenge for me.  I do not need to move as much as he does.  Not even 10th of what he does.  I do not like to be out of my house all that much and I like to think about things seriously.  I'm not always happy, not that I'm necessarily sad but I'm just more serious than he is.  I'm not always up to being social and oftentimes would prefer to sit down and watch a movie or read a book.  Which means that sometimes Ben exhausts me.

What are my choices though?  Do I squash Ben's energy, his happy personality, the excitement and joy that he gets out of life?  Some of the very things that are essentially him?  I could have forced Ben to sit still at Charlie's.  He would have cried.  He would have fought me.  He wouldn't have been able to play with the other kids.  We as parents wouldn't have been able to talk to anyone about anything because we would have had to hold him in the vice-grip of death in order for him to sit still.  We would have ended up leaving almost immediately upon arrival and we would have all had a miserable time.

I didn't want that.  I wanted to enjoy my time.  So instead I let him run.  I let him brings a smile to people's face even as they thought perhaps someone should "sit that kid down".  But I honestly don't think anyone was thinking that.  I watched as he greeted people and most everyone answered with a genuine smile and even laughter.  I kept one eye on the people I was with and one eye on him.  When he sat down at someone else's table and started making the little girls laugh, I went and got him so they could enjoy their ice cream together.  When he started for the door to go outside and visit with another family, I wouldn't let him.  He needed to stay safe where I could see him.  He didn't like it, but he did obey.  He could play with the kids that were a part of our group.  When he starting playing in the drinking fountain I stopped him.  He has boundaries, they just don't look like what even I thought they would.

More important than me enjoying my time though, is the responsibility that I have as a parent to my child.  I do not want him growing up thinking that the very things that make him who he is, are wrong or bad or unacceptable.  I want him to always be that happy, social, fun-loving child.  The one who brightens a room.  There will be plenty of people and opportunities as he grows older that will make him question his worth.  He will second guess the things that are so natural to him.  I do not want that questioning to start with me.  I want to be his biggest cheerleader, honoring his unique perspective and abilities and who he really is.  I want him to be able to learn to work with his energy and meet his potential.  No reservations.

Wish us both luck!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Inner Child

Yesterday was awful. I mean awful.  I felt overwhelmed in every aspect of my life.  I had several irons in the fire and not enough time to attend to all of them.  I hadn't been sleeping all that well and neither had Ben.  In fact he was up several times during the night and then decided to take a 45 minute nap rather than the hour and a half we're used to.

Ben was ornery and clingy.  I was ornery and distant.  We both had to be around each other longer and the to do list had thing that just needed to be done.  The setting was just right for the perfect storm.

It hit at about 7 that evening.  The kitchen was a mess, there was flour on the floor that needed to be vacuumed up, and every room in the house was in a state of disarray.  Every.  Room.  Laundry, cushions, toys, papers, crayons... everything everywhere.  There was no sanctuary.  No place of order to hide and calm down.  Just chaos and a child whining and clinging to my leg constantly.  Constantly.  I had to pry him off to use the bathroom.  Noise noise noise noise noise!

My patience had been used to the very last drop. There was no reserve, no bottom of the barrel to scrape.  It was just gone.

I handed Ben off to David who was equally tired and spent and began trying to find some order in the chaos.  2.5 seconds later Ben was at my skirt whining to be carried and I just could. not. do it.  I exploded.  I let out a primal yell all my own, stomped on the floor, and had the grown up equivalent of a two year old fit.  The reaction it caused would have made James P Sullivan of Monsters Inc. fame proud.

Ben ran scared to David for comfort and I felt like a monster.  A monster of a mother who lost her cool in a big way.  A monster who scared her child rather than comforted.  A monster who stomped and yelled and caused disarray.

David quickly took Ben out for a walk and I rampaged around the house throwing things to get them in order, cleaning like a mad woman and working very hard to calm down.  Bewildered by my own reaction and scared of myself. By the time they got back I was able to hold it together and apologize for my behavior.  I felt ashamed and a little lost.

Now for today.

Today was better.  Today I decided that the to do list could go and to do itself.  The important things got done and the never ending list of other things did not even get thought of.  I went for a walk with my son this morning and let him take the lead.  We ended up at a nearby park and he decided when to go home.  We had lunch on the deck with David and we all laughed with each other.  Ben went down for a nap and I went to the temple.

At the temple I regained some perspective and asked for my burden to be lightened.  There was nothing to take away, but God could bless me not to feel it so heavily upon my back.  I listened.  I asked questions in my heart and received direction and answers.  I came to understand more about the blessings and the power of God in my life.  About the Priesthood.  About men and women and why we work well together and why we have to work together.  I asked to be a better mother to my son.  I left with peace in my heart.

It was hot when I got home.  Hot enough to put Ben in his swimsuit and put a pair of shorts on myself.  I threw propriety, caution, and my own inhibitions to the wind and Ben and I got soaked in the sprinklers together.  We played outside all the rest of the afternoon and walked around the neighborhood in wet clothes, sunscreen, and the best big floppy hat in the entire world.  I felt like a kid again.  My body remembered the feel of the never-ending Summer days spent outside, playing in the water, listening to the wind in the trees, and feeling the sun warm my wet skin.  Ben's belly laughs as he took control of the water and sprayed me down made it even more magical.  I showed Ben how to leave wet swimsuit marks on the porch which was amazing to him.

I do have an inner child and for the first time in a long time it has been let out to see the sun.  It was free.  I was my child's best friend today and we both enjoyed our extended time together immensely.  There was no whining, no patience drained.  In fact it was hardly even tapped into.  Ben chatted away happily at dinner time and the whining of yesterday was replaced by laughter today.

Today was a gift.  I hope tomorrow will be one too.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Etching Deeper into my Heart

I woke up this morning with words running through my head.  Tumbling over themselves in an effort to be spoken or written or just noticed.  I started thinking about why I want to write and what I want to say with my words.  Tawnya wrote a post on some of her writing inspiration as she was walking around campus for her exercise and I've been thinking about them all day and apparently into the night.  

I remember the times I would sit at the top of Old Main hill just by the amphitheater so as to be out of the way, hidden almost, and feel alone with my thoughts.  It was what I wanted.  To get away from work and school for what felt like stolen moments, which made it all the more tantalizing, and think my thoughts and write what came to me.

I had visions of writing a book about my experiences.  A means to inspire those who came after me.  I could picture my future daughter reading my words and finding her own self-worth in the pages.  The right words at the right time giving her permission to let her heart be free and to follow it.

At the time I was struggling with my single status as I did often those days.  It wasn’t an everyday thing, but I couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong with me.  Why couldn’t I find a husband?  What was I doing wrong?  What did I need to change? What was it about me that the boys I liked just didn’t like me enough to ask me out?  Stuck in a perpetual hang out cycle while roommates had more dates than they knew what to do with. 

Every six months I had a breakdown.  I ended up sobbing on the phone to my mother asking the “what is wrong with me” question out loud, it having caught up with me once again.  My mother listened, she cried with me in her heart, and told me that nothing was wrong with me.  I was strong and beautiful and someday someone, the right one, will see that.  My tears would dry up.  I would remember what I had been taught so many times, what God had taught me so many times, that I had value and I was loved and that he had a plan for me and it was a good one.  A lesson that I would continue to need reminders about and sometimes still do.

I wrote down the pain in my heart and hoped that I could share those lessons and spare someone else the wondering.  I wanted to inspire worth.  To create a place of words that could comfort and reassure in times of doubt.  Words that could give permission to free the soul and let it soar above the mundane and the hurt and pain.  A soul that knew its origins and where it was headed.

Words that would help me remember my own lessons learned.  Words to spare me the pain surrounding heartache and heartbreak.  A means to etch self-worth ever deeper into my heart so I wouldn’t have to question anymore.

I’ve learned a few things since then.  Heartache and heartbreak make us more compassionate people.  We are more likely to help those around us and our experiences give credibility to our words. 

I’ve learned that it isn’t the words that etch those lessons deeper into our hearts, but the re-learning of the lessons.   Each time we find ourselves asking the “what’s wrong with me” question, whatever that may be for you, the lessons we’ve already learned are revisited and more depth is added.  We gain a greater understanding of ourselves as just us and ourselves in the eyes of God. 

The lessons become precious to us.  The lessons help us become free.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wishful Thinking or Actual Hope

I've been thinking about hope lately.

Hope for the future.
Hope that things will get better.
Hope that our plans will actually work better in real life than they do on paper.
Hope that I'm not residing in the world of wishful thinking rather than actual hope.

Hope has a foundation, a form, a steadying influence.  It is based on Faith.  Faith in a higher power.  Faith that we are here on this earth doing more than passing time.  More than just letting the days go by until they don't anymore.

We have purpose and meaning.  We have worth.  We have something to offer this world that no one else does.  We are not "stamped out" by a machine, meant to look and act and think and be the same.  Our lives are different.

We are individuals even if we share facial features.  Even if we share views and religion and opinions, we still have our own unique perspective.  Our own convictions that can only be taken from us as we give them up.  Willingly.  Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

Our paths are our own.  By choice or by circumstance, they are still our own.  Not meant to be compared to other's.  Unique.  Designed for us.

I have hope for many things.
I have hope for another child to join our family.
I have hope that we can someday live at least a little more comfortably from paycheck to paycheck.
I have hope for happiness not based on circumstances.
I have hope for greater faith.

I have Hope.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


So I'm kind of a real writer!  Like for reals.  Not on my own site here for myself.  But somewhere else that's all professional and stuff.

I didn't want to say anything to anyone earlier because I thought I would either jinx it or really just make myself more nervous about it than I already was... which was a lot.  I gave myself anxiety.


BUT!  It was published!

You can find it here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Said "Hold Please"

Remember when I said I was putting life on hold for awhile so that I could sort out the better from the good and the best from the better?  Maybe not so much in those words, but that was the intent.  Take time to breathe.  Take time to make the choices to have those things in my life again.

Remember that?

Did you hear the universe laugh right after you read that?

I didn't myself, but clearly it was.  Last week was one of the busiest in a long time.  All good stuff. Several unanticipated events.  Play dates, planned and not planned.  The chance to help out a friend in need.  The opportunity to help a sister in need, the kind that just shouldn't be let go.  David and I actually had a date night, you know that time that gets set aside for you and the hubby to actually spend uninterrupted time together outside of your own living room?  That weekly event that happened before you had kids.  It's been so long since we've actually had a shot at one that there was no way either one of us was going to give it up.  All of these good opportunities that apparently waited until I decided to "take a break" to show themselves.  Needless to say, the breath was taken away and filled with some goods, betters, and even bests.


I'm tired.  My house is just icky in places.  My son is missing his alone time with mama because he simple hasn't had the luxury of my breath either.  At least not without me trying to do two or three things at once.

So today has been his time.  I have done the bare minimum (feed the family and shower) and the rest of the time has been spent with Ben.  I have let him lead today.  So far we've played at the park, watched Finding Nemo, eaten goldfish till we could no more (I haven't decided if that's cool or disturbing that we eat goldfish while watching a cartoon fish go to great lengths to save his son), and finally gone down for a nap.  Which is why I am here.

When he wakes I'll see where the day will take us next.

The dishes can wait till this evening.  Responsibilities will still be here tomorrow.  But today is ours and it feels good to breathe.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Find the Love

Do you ever have those times where the love for something or someone just hits you over the head and leaves you trying to catch your breath?

The kind that causes something inside to ache with the love that his overflowing your entire body at that moment?

The kind that makes you want to snatch up whatever or whomever is the object of that love?

I had that today for my son.  My son who drives me absolutely insane sometimes but at others I just can't seem to get enough of him.  His giggles, his smiles, his plethora of facial expressions.

Today I read a book to him.  "You Are Special" by Max Lucado.  It's a story about wooden people who go around rating each other on their accomplishments and attributes with stickers.  Stars for those who did well, gray dots for those who did not.  Stars for those who looked good, dots for those who did not.  There is one little wooden man who always has gray dots no matter how hard he tries to get a star.  He feels bad and finds himself not even wanting to go outside for fear he will do something wrong and get more gray dots.

One day the little wooden man comes across a girl who has no stickers at all.  No stars, no dots.  They just don't stick to her.  People try to give her stars or dots and they just fall off.  He decides he wants to be like that as well so he is told to visit Eli, his maker.  In his visit he finds someone who knows his name.  Someone who loves him no matter what because he is special.  When he realizes that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, it only matters what Eli, his maker, thinks, then the dots stop sticking to him as well.

I couldn't help but think of this precious little boy that I have in my home.  This child who is learning and growing and wants so much to be able to do everything.  This child that is special because he is a child of God.  If we could all see ourselves through the eyes of our maker... wouldn't we be filled with love as well?

My challenge to you is to find the love today.  It's there, even in the crappiest of craptastic days, it's still there waiting to be noticed, seen, and felt.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hold Please

It's time for some changes in my life.  It's time to get back into this writing bit.  This writing bit that's just for me... and whoever is bored enough to read this.

Recently I have a felt the need to put everything on hold that can be put on hold.   Meetings, books, projects.  Do you ever get that way? Feel that need to just stop and set everything aside until you decide that you actually want to pick them up again instead of have to pick them up again?

My life is at that point that it is so full of good things, things that I willingly put into my life, that those good things have stopped being a choice and have instead turned into a chore.  Instead of a bright spot in my day they have turned into another thing on the list of everything else that needs to be done and I'm left wondering when it is that I have time to breathe.

So I'm taking a break for awhile.  A break from some of the good things so that I can remember what it is like to take a full breath.  I want to remember what it is like to want to do something instead of feel obligated.  I want to choose to put those good things back in my life again knowing that they really are good and I really do want them.

So this week I will do the necessary laundry and cooking.  I will take time to really honest and truly clean my kitchen.  I will take a look at all aspects of my life and put it into perspective.  I will stop being tossed about by everything that I could/want/should do and make real choices based on real abilities, real time, real results.

There. That felt good.  Now to conquer the world!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What Happens at Two... Continued

There were so many good suggestions and helps and reassurances from all ya'll on facebook and in real life and here on this blog that I've decided to do a follow up post on what I've learned and decided to implement.

So, what have I learned?

1.  I have the coolest, best, perfectly wonderful loving support system in the world.  That's you guys in case you missed it.

2.  Ben understands more than I think.  Which is something that I kind of knew, but it's one of those things that still takes me by surprise because he has not mastered the art of language to let me know he understands.

3.  He's still little.  As in it is easy to forget that he's just a little guy with very little experience in this world even though he's running around all over asserting his independence.  He's finding new things to do and he thinks they are awesome when I think they are annoying or just plain inappropriate bad behavior.  He has to be taught what is right and wrong and that's my job.

4.  I have learned that Ben will be more content at meal times if he has had time to play beforehand.  Especially breakfast.  I too often have made the mistake of having breakfast ready for him right when he gets up when in reality he needs some time to decide that he's okay being up, and then another short stint of time to play and reacquaint himself with the toys he was loathe to leave behind for the irritating purpose of sleeping.

5.  I have learned that there are times when time out is the best thing in the entire world.

6.  I have learned that Ben acts up and earns himself a time-out when he either doesn't get his way or I have been ignoring him for an extensive amount of time.  The later one eliciting the more serious and explosive ear-splitting volumes.  I have learned that the best way to snap him out of it is to wrestle him (and at this point it is a wrestle) into a hug.  It takes him a moment but he melts into me and wraps his arms around my neck and I hold him tight and then we both forgive each other.

7.  I have learned that a lot of times it's better for me to go with him when he slips his hand around my finger to pull me away from what I'm doing because so very often it is to do something simple that he can't do for himself.  Like fill his sippy cup, or get the sock monkey out of the crib.  He just needs a little help to get something done and then he's content to go and play without me and I can return to my work sans tears and trauma.

8.  I have learned that there is still so very much to learn.

So, with all of this new-found/newly-remembered information, just what will I do?

1.  Quiet time during the day.  This idea I love with all my heart.  It might be a little tricky finding the best time to do this but I feel in my heart of hearts that it will be totally worth it.  He actually does pretty well in church most of the time.  There are days when that's not the case, but rarely.

2.  It's time to be more insistent that he pick up after himself and I need to teach him how.  I need to be consistent.  And sometimes that is really, really hard.

3.  Rather than try to "fix" everything at once, my husband and I will discuss what is most important to us... what will have he biggest impact for all of us and take the time to make sure it is worth the effort.  The last thing I want to do is spin my wheels in frustration over something that really doesn't matter in the long run.

4.  We will be keeping a strict bedtime for him despite his "energy crisis".  We put him down, make the room as dark as possible and it's up to him whether he stays down or not.  If he yells for us, we will go to him, figure out what he needs and inform him that we will not be coming in again. So far this has worked really well.  He's not going to sleep as early as I would like, but he's not yelling/crying/screaming either. I have found that the best way for me to handle him not going to sleep at his bedtime is for me to stop listening to the monitor.  If he needs something he can yell loud enough and that way every little sound that comes from the monitor isn't adding to my anxiety.

So there's the recap.  I think what I a really learning is how to be a parent.  First time parent, first time kid... we've all got a lot to learn.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Oy with the poodles!

A story.

Today I gave Ben some goldfish crackers to snack on while he watched Toy Story.  When I went down to check on him I was met with crackers crushed into the carpet.  Perfect time for a teaching moment.

Mom: "You can't have anymore juice or watch anymore Toy Story till you clean up the crackers."

Child responds calmly with "Jesus?" and points at the picture of Christ.

M: "Yes, that is Jesus, but changing the subject won't work.  Pick up the crackers."

C: "Watch Buzz?"

M: "Pick up crackers."

C: "Buzz? Woody (pronounced "Wooey")?"

M: "Crackers".

C: bursts into tears and stretches out arms towards mom for comfort.

M: "No.  I'm sorry, but you have to pick up the crackers first."

Weeping and wailing and running of nose ensues while mom leaves the room and hopes child will find the error of his ways while congratulating herself for not getting angry and having a level head about the whole thing.  "What a wonderful teaching moment this is, and how splendid it will be to help my child learn here and now in these very moments, the lesson that is to pick up after himself.  By George, I'll have him working by my side in my housework efforts by the end of the day," she thought naively.

Half hour later weeping and wailing is replaced by a shaky little voice by the railing.

C: "Hi"

M: "Hi Ben. Have you picked up the crackers?"

C: nods in the affirmative.

Mom goes to check and sees crackers still there.  Child reaches out for comfort and mom again rejects child.

M: "Pick up the crackers."

Weeping and wailing again for another half hour.

M: having slight change of heart mom thinks to herself "perhaps if I hand him a cracker so he can put in in the container and then give him lots of positive encouragement for his efforts he will get it."

Mom takes child to basement, hands him a cracker and instructs him to put it in the container.

Child won't take cracker.  Child reaches for mom, mom rejects, child cries.

Mom lets child sit in her lap and tries again with the cracker.

Child eats cracker.

Mom says "Seriously!!"  Throws hands in the air and gets out the vacuum.  Tries to make child do the task but realizes that he's not strong enough to push it.

"Oy with the poodles!"

Ben 1, Mom 0
Rematch is just around the corner I'm sure.

My son is a goober.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Happens at Two?

Can someone please tell me what happens to the child's brain when he/she turns two?

What is it that clicks into place and they decide that all good behavior previously exhibited and that the parents have come to expect is now to be thrown out the window and replaced by complete and utter chaos?

Why can't the couch cushions actually stay on the couch?  Why do all the toys need to be thrown down the stairs?  Why does water have to be spit out of the mouth rather than swallowed?

What happens at two to make your child decide that instead of going to sleep when you lovingly put them down to bed at their regular bed time, you know the one that hasn't been a problem for well over a year now, that one that allows the parents of said child a few hours together to collect thoughts, wind down for the night, and actually reflect on how much they love their child... why does that seem impossible to do?  Why is it a better idea to spend an hour or two jumping in said bed rather than sleeping in said bed?  Alternately crying out in mock duress to get the parents attention while throwing everything out of the crib including the sock monkey that the child can't seem to be able to get to sleep without.

What happens that makes it so that food suddenly becomes a hassle instead of something enjoyable, which actually was the case previous to turning two?  Something to endure a few bites of so said child can get on to other activities like spitting out water, throwing things down the stairs, or begging for one more showing of Toy Story? All the while getting ornery because they actually are hungry but can't seem to associate satisfied belly with a satisfied mood which is what parents are really going for, especially mom who will be spending the rest of the day with said child and having to put up with said orneriness and thus getting more and more frustrated when child will not cooperate and even pretend to try to keep the d@mn scrambled egg (which he loves by the way) in his mouth for more than two seconds.

What happens at two that makes a parent who thought that she was doing a pretty good job overall suddenly feel like a failure.  One who cannot keep her child under control.  One who just does not know what the crap she's doing and finds herself desperately wanting to escape reality for just a little while by getting lost in a book or a good movie but can't because the cushions on the couch are missing?

Am I coming off too strong?  Too frustrated?  Too needy?

Suggestions are welcome. Real ones.  And for the love of all that's holy please oh please do not tell me that it just gets worse cause that will actually not help at all.  I already know that it will get worse.  I know that the time will go quickly because it seems like yesterday that he was just a babe in my arms instead of this little person running around with such a big personality.  I know the weeks and months will fly by, but the days?  The hours that are here right now?  They seem like an eternity to get through, especially when I'm putting the cushions back on the couch for the umpteenth time.

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Year of Gratitude: A Follow Up

Dear friends,

Sometimes it's hard to find the words.

That's how I feel about this past year.  I know that each year brings its own set of blessings and trials.  And I know that its pretty much impossible to predict what will happen, how it will happen, and why.

This past year has been full of surprises.  Good and bad.  As I wander through my journal and look over my gratitude list from 2013, I am almost overwhelmed with feelings of love and thankfulness.  I am far from perfect and there are several entries where I know I'm searching for the good in a pretty much rotten day.  Sometimes rotten weeks.  But even though they were bad, there was always something to be thankful for even if it was that the day was over.

There were some days that I skipped.  There's an entire week missing in April right after my father passed away.  There was much to be thankful for that week but I just could not write it down.  It had been swallowed up in an impossible sorrow that still lingers just a bit.

Dad's passing was by far the biggest plot twist of the year and even it brought unexpected blessings.  And I'm not talking about the silver linings that happen all the time.  I'm talking about honest to goodness blessings that I'm fairly certain would not have come any other way.  Silver linings are like the chocolate coating that make the pill go down a little smoother. You can find them everywhere if you look.  But the pill is still rather bitter.

The blessing actually changes the pill.  Rather than something bitter and hard to swallow, it becomes sweet.  My father's passing has changed so much. There have been impossible and sacred blessings that have come with having Dad on the "other side".  Those who have passed on are still a part of our lives.  It is something that I did not expect.  It is something that I am eternally grateful for.

If I had to sum up this past year of gratitude it would be filled with words like: God, Friends, Laughter, Family, Ben, David, Eternity, Temples, Dad, Mom, Blessings, Service, Work, Time, Neighbors, and Love.

My life is not perfect, but sometimes... sometimes it feels like it is.

May God bless you this coming year.

~ Lora

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Lot More Hope

I love the new year. 

I love the sense of renewal that it brings.  The sense that you can start over, do things that you like again, and leave those you don't particularly care for behind.  

I feel like the chains of oppression that have dragged behind me and weighed me down have been loosened.  This is a time to start over.  A time to try again and do a little better this time.  A time to be gentler with myself and others.  A time to let go of the unnecessary so I can pick up a few more "frivolities" that make life more fun.

My word for this year is HOPE.  I wrote about it a little while ago, before I knew that this would be my word.  My focus. 

It seems almost as if I’ve come full circle on this one.  There was so much hope in my life for such a long time.  Even when I was in despair at finding, or not finding, a husband, deep down inside I still had hope.  Hope for a better future.
Well, I found my husband and my life was better than I had hoped for.  Richer, fuller, much more meaningful. Then we were put into the thick of infertility issues.  That took a great amount of my hope and stomped it into the ground.  I often laughed about a bumper sticker that said “Ever since I gave up hope I feel much better.”  Hope was something that was dangerous.  It could let you fall.  It could trip you up and throw you down.

Not anymore.  Today I choose hope.  I choose faith.  I choose to be positive and believing and hopeful for my future.

Now, keep in mind that this a goal.  Not a reality.  As with all new things there are stumbling blocks.  Things to help us stretch and grow and decide again and again who we want to be.  So if I don't quite make it at first, be patient.  I have a whole year to work on it!

Happy 2014 my friends!  May it be spectacular.