Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shopping with my children...so very, very brave.

There are many, many things I love about Christmas. 
My christmas tree star for instance.

Shopping is NOT on the list.

Me and consumerism have some deep, unresolved issues.
For the most part, I'm not good at it, nor do I like it.

And for years, I have watched stuptified as other mothers regulary carted their kids off to the mall, and I honestly did not get it.

Today, I finally got it. 
We actually had fun!!!
I didn't have huge list. 

I wasn't concerned with my efficiency. 
I wasn't rushing like crazy (like usual, because I never go shopping, so when I do there's a lot to tackle)

We just chilled. 
Looked at what the kids wanted to. 
Watched the Tiger Santa pop out of the big blow up lawn decoration like fifteen times.
Pointed out every "Christmas Tree!!!!" with undiminished splendour.
Wandered up and down the toy aisle. 

"I want dis! Want dis!"
Guess who won? Again.

It wasn't free of all drama. McKye running around corners or freaking out it Levi touched him in the cart. Knocking the all too colourful bingo dabbers off the shelf at the check out, or making a break for the automatic doors, while I paid.

But it was doable. 
I suddenly comprehended the appeal of the dreaded "shopping with kids" that had alluded me all these years. Somehow between Aaron's challenges (that sometimes seem exasperated by public places), and years of nursing babies (I have been stopped more times then a care to remember, by some kind lady informing me, "Dear, I think your leaking", usually by which time I don't even care), I had convinced myself that even a trip to the grocery store alone with the kids was just not worth the stress. 

Not saying I think we'll be frequently the mall daily, but today did a lot to alleviate some of my unfounded fears. As crazy as this Levi-Mckye combo is gonna be, I think these two little buddies are gonna be a lot of fun too.

We even got to see baby Jesus. 

Wanna here more amazingness???
I set up the tree yesterday...while the kids were awake!

They were so busy playing with.... what was suppose to be Levi's Christmas present!

McKye saw it in the back of the van and was not gonna give in until I let him play with it.

He played all afternoon (to my utter amazement and glee)

I'll try and steal it away in a week or so so it can get wrapped up and they'll be so excited for it to return Christmas morning.

Although I'm pretty sure Levi would also be just as happy with this:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

3 am ...the jinx is official.

I knew I shouldn't have said anything (in my lost post) about sleeping more!
No kiddos to blame (yet) just me NOT falling asleep.

So here I am trying to empty my brain of thoughts. 

I was just saying to Ben this morning I wish I could find a  new picture of the temple. 

And so I took one. 
Man I love instagram! 

Unfortunately, these iPhone pics aren't  gonna be to enlargeable. Still really like em.

Printing out pics. Why is it such a task? Trying to decide on enlargements and frames...keep putting it off. I buy most of my frames second hand and spray paint, just cuz they (like me) are cheap, and I find them more interesting. Haven't found the one I want yet for a big print. It's holding me up.

What did I find at good old Bibles for Missions Thrift?(Take note silly Value Village...they actually have a cause! Profit "donation centers" are a big pet peeve of mine)
That's right twinkle lights for a dollar a strand! In hindsight, why didn't a grab waaaay more!
Because serioulsy there are few things in this life that offer as much joy as a strand of twinkle lights!

Unless they're remote candles! Flameless candles are stupendous, I'm a big fan.  

Apparently so is McKye cuz this is how I found him in bed last night. Snuggled up, sippy in one hand, remote in the other.

The tree is partially up.
I'm wondering if I can enjoy a bit of twinkle whilst postponing the inevitable destruction.
I haven't put the balls on yet, cuz they're the biggest draw for my wanna-chuck-everything-I-can-get-my-hands- on boys.

Good thing they're so darn cute!

Here some snaps of my boys on the way to a pirate themed b-day party. Man I'm a sucker for a costume party!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Everyday is a good day to be grateful

From our downstairs window this morning
Yesterday felt like a holiday. Perhaps it was all my lovely American Facebook friends and bloggers expressing all their thanks. 

Maybe it was Benny being home (his company is based in Salt Lake so he worked on Canadian thanksgiving).

Maybe it was the the chinook that melted all the snow and made winter seem not so final. 

Maybe it was the apple & cinnamon air freshner I was so excited about that has me craving (in a non-pregnant way...got be careful with that word) apple cider daily.

Maybe it was the apple pie we had for lunch (not desert at lunch...lunch).

I kept wanting to list of my blessings. And then I thought, who needs a holiday???

"It’s so easy in life for us to receive blessings, many of them almost uncounted, and have things happen in our lives that can help change our lives, improve our lives, and bring the Spirit into our lives. But we sometimes take them for granted. How grateful we should be for the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our hearts and souls. I would remind all of you that if we’re ever going to show gratitude properly to our Heavenly Father, we should do it with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—because it was He who gave us life and breath" 
(David B. Haight, "Were There Not Ten Cleansed?," Ensign, Nov 2002, 24).
Hmmmm, let's see...
I'm grateful for yoga pants, who love me (by fitting) no matter what.

I'm grateful for fuzzy socks and warm hubby legs to warm my icy feet.

I'm so grateful for so many loving, striving people in my life, who teach me so many lessons. 
(My fav gratitude list I ever wrote was one where I listed people I was grateful for and why, a list I cherish and add to regularly, but just maybe to personal for here...too personal for Chelsea the queen of TMI?!?)

I'm grateful for a mind that loves to think and a heart that loves to feel (even if the combo can exhaust me at times)

I'm grateful I've finally been sleeping more (this better not jinx it!)

I'm grateful for my amazing hand-picked-by- heaven-children who are bent on beating any and all selfishness and impatience out of me (even if it takes forever, which it probably will)
Grateful they taught me (each in profound moments shortly after their arrivals to this planet) what it feels like to love someone so intensely you don't think you can take it!

Grateful for Aaron's pureness, his physicality, his joy and his intense affection.

Grateful for McKye's confidence, his empathy, his awareness, his expressiveness and his sense of fun.

Grateful for Levi's flintiness, his resilience, his attachment and his softness to snuggle.

Grateful for a hubby who knows I'm not perfect and loves me even more because of it. A hubby who isn't perfect either, but (like I tell him all the time) he's perfect for me.

Grateful for a world that proclaims in so many breathtaking and simple beauties that God is good and cares enough to touch us.

Grateful for this chance to live and learn and grow.

Grateful for a Saviour that makes it all okay. 

Grateful for each breath, each moment...too bad I forget.
I think we all do.  Thankfully, it only takes a moment, to stop and consider our blessings for the feelings of gratitude to come rushing back in, reminding us to remember.

For another beautiful list of things to be grateful for, I loved  this post. 

Sick of this picture yet??? I'm not!

Don't ya just love the sound of....

...an ENTIRE box of Cheerios being  dumped?!?
While I grabbed the camera (it's a coping mechanism, if I take pictures it defuses me adn reminds me one day I'll look back and laugh: Crisis + Time=  Humor) 

Levi happily made basically "snow" angels, but on his belly, spreading the mess-circumference significantly. I handed him the broom and snapped away.

 Who could be mad at a face like that???

The Cheerios went back into the bag. Shhhhhhh, don't tell. Nobodys complained yet:)

Plus a little sweepage was nothing compared to the doozy of a mess McKye produced thinking he'd be helpful and wash-out his poopy diaper int he bathroom sink this afternoon. 
Yup, I'll take Cheerios any day:)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My first mobile post: my brain is broken

No really.
You know when you have too many windows open on your computer
(I drive Ben nuts with that!)
And you computer starts freaking out and asking you to re-boot.
That feels like my brain.

I'm driving to a positive parenting class and I look in the rearview mirror and my makeup-less face stared horrified back at me. Now, a few years ago I was pretty proud of my minimalist cosmetics, and thought I'd never be a regular makeup wearer but add a couple sleepless years and I'm sure grateful for a bit of concealer to...well, conceal!
The scary thing is morning, I distinctly remember going upstairs to put makeup on. What happened between that intention and actual application ??? Who knows.

My brain is broken.

Evidence exhibit B.

So the class was at Aaron's school. So I told the aid who usually drives him home (I know, soooo spoiled, you ladies with multiple pick up and drop offs have my adoration and awe!!!)that he'd just come home with me.

I'm turning on the van when once again the rear view mirror revealed my oversight. Behind the front row carseats I'd brought the two kids IN was smashed a dismantled trampoline Ben and I bought used to replace our recently broken one.
No third carseat for Aaron. No room at all for Aaron.
Luckily, Ben was taking American thanksgiving "off" seeing as he worked the Canadian one, so he came and rescued us.
Rescue me and my broken brain.

So I sat in my car and thumbed out this little post so you could all enjoy.

Too many windows open at once.

CTRL + ALT + DEL pleeeease.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Leave me alone" "I'm busy" and other things I'm trying not to say ...

Today was a good day. 

What was so good about today you ask? Well let's give some context. 

Monday, I killed myself cleaning, laundry, phone-calling (doing all the "good-mom" things, while telling my kids, "just a minute", or just plaine ol'  "leave me alone!"). I planned a darling, fun and interactive first Family Home Evening lesson of the season Christmas lesson, that my children promptly ignored to play farm instead, with the barn yard animals I had intended to worship the babe in the manger. 

FHE as of late had begun to be family home Errand night, and so while we were trying remedy that trend, we still, consequently we needed groceries. Ben was gonna take one of the kids and go do it (cuz just two kids is such a treat!) but do to the attempt to have a lesson, it was a tad to late. 
So I said, well why don't I go. 
Benny put the kids to bed while I wandered about Walmart basking in the kid-lessness. 
(I ran into another Vivint wife who's husband had been away on the same trip, she had the same "can't believe no kids are asking me for anything!" look. I was so happy for her. 
And me.)

So Monday was the "productive" day, which I've realized is usually followed by a lazy day.
I rotate. 
It works for me. 
But I kept feeling like I ought to be doing something.  Which totally wrecks a nothing day.

So today I kinda had a re-do. But instead of just lazy, and after a talk with my amazing mother-in-law, I decided to give myself permission to just let my kids take the lead.

"Just take 15 minutes" she challenged, "with no teaching or parenting, jut BE with your child and do whatever they do! It will make them feel so special and loved. Trust me."

Guess what McKye wanted to do? Laugh. 
Over and over again, we just threw our heads back and laughed. 
What a great idea McKye. 

Then we transformed a plane in to a robot...."NO!!! Tansfow-ma!"  (Opps my bad). 
Probably fifty times.
Never got old. He was excited every time.  

He was so pleasant and fun. And I was left thinking "why don't I do this all the time?!?"

Then the baby woke up and I remember why. Life.

But, still I should do it more.

I read this line yesterday from this blog, 
 "you can be home and still miss it if your mind is elsewhere."  
It's SOOOOO true. And its truth is haunting my heart.

I've been so frustrated with McKye lately. But I know he just wants attention. 

I'm good at learning things, but not so good at applying them.
I first learned the concept of "mistaken goals" in the Positive Discipline books. Which I love because they focus on children's needs, and how they result in behaviour instead of just giving reaction strategies to behaviours.
I happened upon the same philosophy in an LDS social services document, my mom-in-law emailed me, so I can't source it properly. But I loved remembering this... (McKye is the first one, with a little of the second)
Misbehaving children do not feel good about themselves and are usually discouraged. They seek to belong through misbehavior. Rudolf Dreikurs defines four “mistaken goals” or negative goals that children pursue in an effort to meet their needs. 
The four mistaken goals Dreikurs defines are:

•  Seeking undue attention--When children don’t get attention in positive ways, they may choose to seek it in negative ways through misbehavior. Children who believe they can belong only if they are receiving attention prefer negative attention to being ignored. Parents need to give these children positive attention and attention when they don’t expect it.  
•  Retaliation and revenge--Children who seek revenge believe they are not loveable; that they are significant only when they are able to hurt others the way they believe they have been hurt. Parents need to be careful not to retaliate with these children and to build a positive relationship. 

•  Display of inadequacy—These children are extremely discouraged. They have given up hope of succeeding so they attempt to keep others from expecting anything from them. Giving up may be total or only in areas where the children feel they can’t succeed. Parents need to help the children who feel inadequate to succeed if only in small increments, to focus on the children’s strengths, and to not give up on them which is the child’s mistaken goal.
•  Struggle for power--Children who seek power feel they are significant only when they get their way. Even if parents succeed in subduing them, the victory is only temporary. They may win the argument, but lose the relationship. When parents deal with power-seeking children, they must refrain from getting angry and stay out of the power struggle. Parents should give them opportunities to display power and competency constructively.

I love those I believe statements in the middle. SO powerful. Exactly the self-talk messages I want my kids to have engrained in their little souls. (Reminds me of "you is kind, you is smart, you is important!" from "The Help"...you haven't read it yet.... library now!"

I just need to remember this, and DO!
I need to do it right now in fact, because Levi this very moment is trying to play with me, putting a hat on his head and then mine and laughing like he's brillant (which he is). And I'm trying to "multi-task" which is crap.
 I need to give my kids ME, that is what they really want, what they need.

How many times am I gonna hafta re-learn this? 
I'm guessing a bunch.

A few pics from the Friend2Friend presentation at Aaron's kindergarten this morning.

And from the ever expanding photo portfolio of narcissistic McKye. He is constantly takign pictures of himself with my iPhone. This little gem is of him on the potty. 
Not the most flattering self-portrait 'Kye.
 It's all in the angle kid.

Well we all know where he got his narcissism.
When a girl only showers every 4 days, can you blame her for getting a bit excited realizing she actually can look half-decent soem days, and deciding she needed some lasting evidence?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ouch and other randomnization

Yes, most of this was on already on facebook. But since I started blogging, it feels more and more like FB is a void where things go, instead of a place for things to be put. Does that make sense. Still use it like crazy (so very useful, for things not quite worth an email). But man, I will always wish back five years ago, when I wanted a way to show my mom her growing grandson when we lived far away in Memphis Tennessee.... I wish I'd chose blog instead. Oh well.  Se la ve.

On to the randomness!!!

1.Levi's big ouch. Crash in the bath. He's pretty daring in the ol' tub. I was out and sam called me pretty frantic. 
"you hafta come home!" 
"Um, what happened?"
 "Levi hurt himself bad!"
"Hurt hiimself , how?"
"He feel in the tub" (Sam was right there when it happened, incase you were wondering about the degree of my babysitters' vigilance)
"Is he bleeding?"

Sam was more shookk up than Levi I think. Poor kid. After some instructions to give him some baby Tylenol,  and lots of snuggles and a bottle, I assured Sam,  "he'll be fine."

 And he is.

Minus one doozy of a shiner!
This was my first glimpse this morning.

 He doesn;t seem too traumatized.
At least it wasn't McKye. 
Maybe Levi will cool it on his bath time stunts. (Doubtful)

2.Speaking of daring....

(this is not the only place he tries this, like his proud face at the end)

3. Another "Seriously???" moment
While I was already cleaning up this:

I went down stair to find this:

( he couldn't believe I would take such fun away)

4.Okay, these two and their love hate relationship.

They can go from playing really well, to total war. 
I'm so tired of telling McKye to leave Levi alone. (Yes, yes, I know there will be years of this yet!) The problem is I'm quite certain McKye has figured out that picking on Levi is the quickest way to get his mamma's attention. Sadly, it's a case of I'll take any attention I can get, even if it's getting in trouble. It's one of those I know what I need to do, but I I kept falling into the same situation (me loosing it, feeling bad, trying to tell myself I hafta start being better, only to be disappointed when it happens again, and Me Levi and McKye all end up in tears.)

Suggestions welcomed.

When I decide to keep McKye home another year, I remember getting the distinct answer that it was so he and Levi could learn to love each other. And while somedays I see their brotherhood growing, most days I'm just hoping they don't kill each other.

5. The other reason McKye didn't start preschool was the ol' potty training. Which while we've made lots of headway, there are still lots of days our "potty-training" feel more like a game of "see how fast we can make a whole another load of laundry for mommy!"

We did have our first EVER poop on the potty!!! ( I was on the phone and my friend got to have her ear drums blown out by my "Wa-hooo ing!!!!!" And no, for once I did NOT take a picture:)

6. I did however take a picture of this grossness. I call it:

"My Breakfast"

Every morning, I pour myself a bowl of cereal, and then some emergency happens. Knees need kissed better (or the occasional tongue...true story),  spills need soped up, yet another brother mauling needs broken up) and before I know it, I sit down to this culinary delight of super soggy cereal which I eat because, well if I poured another bowl, it's just gonna end up as the sequel. 
Breakfast of champions.  Mmmmm.

7. McKye finally discovered Dora. Diego's been a round a while, but now I'm officially a parent of the...2000's...decades are not so catchy in this millenium are they?) 
Theres an  episode "We all scream for ice cream". The first time he watched it, I musta been feel like a "fun mum" cuz I let him eat ice cream cone while he watched. Big mistake. Now every time he asks for ice cream cone. 
Actually he calls it a
 "i" cone. 

(and another) Seriously???
The actual i-products, he refers to as "MY"-phone and "MY"-pad.

My friend thought of me when she saw

All it really proves is, you can want your kids to do and be things (healthy eaters, active, scripture readers) but in the end they'll mostly just do what they see YOU do.  I keep feeling like, man my kids have too much technology in their life, but then I realize, here I am on the computer right now. Sigh. Levi just walked by chewing on an i-pad. Double sigh.

Really this kid is so exasperating and so cute right now.

Mckye dones't necessarily say tons of cute things, but right now he just says everything in such cute ways. My first talking kid. Although over night he hit the "why" phase with a vengeance. 

We teach him great phrases like 
"Thanks mommy, you're the best!" 
It was Ben who started it, but I wasn't about to let daddy be the best.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The queen of retraction emails hits again.

If church callings we're a job, I'd be fired by now.
But they're not. They're places to grow. Right?

Well apparently I like to let everyone see my growing pains.
Nope there's certainly no guise out there that I "have it all together".
Without going into all the ridiculous details, I will just say, I make a lot of mistakes.

I send emails to the wrong people. I've sent out blank emails by accident. My efforts at delegation, combined with my poor communication skills (ask my husband, he'll attest, I'm a good talker, but if there's actually information to be conveyed I'm in trouble!) turn into jumbled messes ( you shoulda scene the tangle of confusion our ward Christmas Party program was in!), and inevitably lots of apologies. 

Doesn't help that a lot of my calling happens at church, where I'm simultaneously suppose to get McKye to go to nursery (he still cried today and we're a week form sunbeams!), make sure Aaron and those working with him are okay in primary, heft my heavy baby around, right through nap time, with bags of church supplies and diapers, all the while trying to make sure all the sisters feel loved and "not forgotten"...because I truly do feel the Lord's love for each and everyone, and I hope every once in a while they feel it through my scatter-brain-ness!

Today, because Ben is still out of town,  I got myself and all three boys ready, and got to church on time! Only to discover I had NO snacks. I quickly imagined an hour with no pretzels and decided to make a run for it. Plunked Levi on a pew with a friend, handed Aaron off to his angel of a primary worker, grabbed McKye who I was too worried to leave...he really enjoyed running in the church halls actually...ran home and grabbed snacks and still made the sacrament hymn.

Except that meant I was returning just as they were announcing callings. Which because I was hoping for a relief society pianist, I was thrilled when I heard a pianist announced.

I tried to quickly send out some coordinating emails after church (while my kids slept in the van having fallen asleep while I drove around delivering Secret Santa assignments...that I hope I didn't mess up)

Finally I had a moment to take care of some calling stuff!

As my kids woke up (mad, cuz their still in the car) my Relief Society president calls me and informs me I've just sent an email welcoming who I thought was the new pianist, when it ...
she 'd actually been called to ply piano in Primary!!!

Yet another "retraction", "sorry I'm such a doofus" email.

Oh well. 

I think though if your gonna try and grow and stretch, you're gonna mess up. A bunch.
I think back to a time when, it would have been much harder for me to shrug off my mistakes. 
When I would internally berated myself, and be so discouraged by my incompetence and basically felt like a failure.
I've prayed and worked hard to try and be more forgiving of myself. 
And how has the Lord answered that pray, you ask? 
By giving me so many, many opportunities to mess up and practice forgiving myself.

Keeps me humble, (sometimes humiliated, but mostly humble). 
Which is important when trying to serve the Lord and His children.

We all know "whom the Lord calls, the Lord Qualifies"...but He never said immediately. 

It just goes to increase my testimony of this work even more. 
Seriously, can you think of another organization anywhere that could survive the type of constant turnover the church does? If it wasn't true, people like me would have messed it up a long time ago.

But we just keep trying. And growing. And occasionally messing up and sending out retraction emails. 

And then we get to hear a beautiful lesson, or testimony, or see sisters loving and taking care of each other. And all the details melt away in the glory and brilliance that is this gospel.

I'm so privileged to participate in His great work; the Saviour that loves us through all our mistakes and weaknesses and can clean up any mess we make.

This all reminds me of Pres. Uchtdorf's council to forget not to be patient with ourselves:

I want to tell you something that I hope you will take in the right way: God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.
Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.
And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
It’s wonderful that you have strengths.
And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses.
God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths,1 but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us to become perfect,2 and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself.
Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.
In the meantime, be thankful for all the small successes...Our journey toward perfection is long, but we can find wonder and delight in even the tiniest steps in that journey.

Hope in Trials (talk I gave a while ago)

My mom mentioned, she was re-reading her copy of this just the other day. 

Another talk I gave more recently that also dealt with this topic of compensation, made me realize that of all the principles of the gospel, this is the one I have the strongest testimony of. That it doesn't matter how dark, or horrible, or even traumatic life can be, for those who turn to Christ, He will, through His Atonement turn those awful things, to our good, making light, and beauty, and peace. 
To me that IS the atonement
The filth of sin to purity. Crimson to snow. Pain to joy. Hurt to healing. 
All things to our good. I know that to be true.

As intimidating as it was to speak at Stake Conference, it was also such a privileged, especially being given such a tender topic. The whole time I prepared I felt the Lord asking me to comfort His children, to send a message of not only hope but love to them. 

We can have Hope in our Trials, as we Experience the Lord’s Love
Lethbrideg AB West Stake Conference May 1st 2011

Pres. Eyring, as a young church leader, was once told “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.”   

I considered that as I prepared this talk.  I don’t know everyone here, but I thought of those of you I do know. And those of you who I know well enough to know of some of your challenges. I thought of how much I love you and admire you.

I thought about how a while ago I was making some calls checking in with friends.
 During those phone calls I found one friend extremely stressed, her husband unable to find work. He’d taken schooling like the Prophets said, had paid tithing faithfully, hadn’t postponed their family, but instead of the home they were dreaming of they, found themselves two week before Christmas moving into a basement suite way too small for their two active boys and a new baby.  

Another friend called me and cried as she described how her brother’s wife had given birth to a beautiful baby girl, but due to complications ending up holding her for only hours, listening to the heart monitor slow, just waiting for her to slip back across the veil she had just left.

And finally, a friend, who’s husband informed her he wouldn’t be blessing their new baby because he’d been lying to her for a year, taking drugs, drinking and looking at pornography, all because he wasn’t sure if he still believed the church was true.
At that point I decided to stop phoning people.

But as I contemplated all my friends very serious situations, there was a common thread. Were they concerned? Of course. Where they frustrated even devastated, yes.
But they were NOT hopeless.

Each of them at some point in our conversation described to me their knowledge that God was in charge, that He loved them and that it would all work out and they would make it through because of their faith in their Savior Jesus Christ and his restored church.

The 34th Pslams says:
15The aeyes of the Lord are upon the brighteous, …
 17The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and adelivereth them out of all their troubles.
 19Many are the aafflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

Deliverance makes me think of trials ending
Yet, none of my friends problems have gone away. But neither has their hope.
Their hope is more than a “finger-crossed” hope. Their hope, like the hope described in the scriptures is more than just having a good attitude.

In Romans 5 we read:
“We glory in tribulations … knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
“And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
Larry Hiller wrote in an Ensign article: As I read…those verses and…the one concept I could not seem to wrap my mind around was how experience fits in the equation. I could understand that tribulation “worketh” (or brings about) patience. Often that’s all we can do in tribulation—have faith and wait patiently upon the Lord. But what is the experience that patience brings about? And how does it result in hope?

To answer that question I would like to share an experience told by Emily Freeman and LDS author tells of her experiences of having her son Josh diagnosed with diabetes. She tells of bringing him home from the hospital and how josh thought that because he’d came home  he was better. “I will never forget “ she describes, “the first day we got home, setting him up on the counter to test him and give him his shots…. "I hate you. I hate this, you don’t’ do this to anyone else in our family. You only do this to me.  I’ll never forget as I gave him his shot Grabbed my cheeks and pinched just as hard as he could and I didn’t stop him because I felt like I was hurting him and he had every right to her me, I‘ll never forget  setting him down  on the floor that day and him run to his room and slamming the door and I sat right their  in the middle of my tile floor and  cried and I thought to myself How would we ever get through. That was a really hard year if I had to choose one word to describe that year the word I would choose is darkness."

"I remember one night, after the whole house was quite. I cried for 2 hours, and I went through a list in my head of everyone that I knew. My parents, my sisters, my husband …my grandmothers, my aunts and people in my ward, my friends my bishop my Releif Society presidency…I kept thinking someone must know how to help me heal , how to get out of this place, …at the end of the two hours nothing--no one."

 "It was at that moment of complete anguish, feeling totally alone that a voice whispered to my heart “Heavenly father knows.” And I knew that was true.  And it was enough."

When we endure tribulation with faith and patience, what we experience, what she experienced that night, is the Savior’s awareness of us and His love for us.
We experience them through the ministrations of the Holy Ghost. And we receive such witnesses after the trial of our faith (see Ether 12:6)

That is my testimony today that Heavenly Father is there, that He knows.  He not only knows every hairs on our head but every thought IN our head, every feeling in our heart, every pain, every loss. He knows the whole story. He not only knows every sparrow that falls, but every time we fall, and every time we get back up. He knows because He is there.

In the dark of Liberty Jail, even Joseph felt compelled to ask 
 “O God Where art thou? 
And how long? (how often do we just want to know how long we have to last?)

It was pointed out to me in a Sunday school class that God answers the question of "how long" right away. In vs 7, He says “My son, peace be unto thy soul, thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment."

He continues on to teach so many great principles. To remind him of the loyaty of his friends. He uses the scriptural example of Job, he teaches about the power of the priesthood, but he still hasn’t answered the first question. 

He lists unimaginable hardships, ending with even if the "very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The son of Man hath descended below them all. 
Art though greater than he?"

“Hold on thy way”  keep going.

“Thy days are known” there is a plan.

“Fear not “ 
(and here finally is the answer to that initial desperate question:
“ God where art thou?)

“Fear not for God shall be WITH you forever and ever.”

I’m right here.

It will all be okay, 

I’m right here with you.

Not “one day this will be over and you can come and be in Heaven with me, but right now, Joseph, as you suffer in this place and all of it’s darkness, I’m with you right now.  

The Lord could tell Joseph to “stand still and with the utmost assurance [or in other words hope
to see the salvation of God. Why? Because God, and His salvation were there all along.

The Lord told Joseph that “all these things would give him EXPERIENCE”.

In the darkness of a prison Joseph heard the voice of the Lord, and felt of his love. His captors may have separated him from his wife, his family and the church he lead but they could not separate him from his Master.

The Apostle Paul asked, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Paul also wrote (and this is our family scripture)
 “ all things work together for good…to those that LOVE God.”
As we trust God’s love, and love and Trust Him in return, we can have a sure hope in the certainty that all will be put right, all will work out, that the great law of composition through the power of the Atonement will make everything work together for our good.”
Elder Orson F. Whitney said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. … All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.” 

Our Heavenly Father has prepared specific trials for each of our educations.

In Mathew 7:9  Christ asked:
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask abread, will he give him a stone?
Brad Wilcox talks about how sometimes we receive trials and we say ”why did you give me such a stone!”
Many of you know that my son Aaron has Autism, which at times I can be tempted to look at like a “stone” But God---
God only gives bread and I know that Heavenly Father gave Aaron to us, as bread. As we have chosen to look at the difficulties that come along with our son’s disorder as bread- blessings and not as a stone, we are able to focus on what the Lord wants us to learn and become as a result of our experiences.

I have always loved the story of the man in the Martin handcart company, who when others were talking as if the hardships faced by that company were stones, replied:

"I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it.' "

" 'I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.
" 'Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. 
The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay' "

We all have our own forms of handcarts. 
We have serious and sometimes long lasting struggles that are hard and heavy to push. They are varied and designed specifically for us alone.

But, in the end, the price we will each pay in our individual trials will be a privilege, for we will experience in those moments--- where we were not sure if we could go on, and in those Liberty jail type moments when we ask God Where art thou? We will know in our hearts, He is with us. We will know that He is real, and that He really does know us, that He truly does love us, and that He was THERE all along.

This I testify is true, in the Name of Jesus Christ Amen.

The whole time I wrote this talk this song kept running through my head. I love it.