Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Sportsman's Prayer

Have you heard this poem before?  As Brian and I and the kids were driving back to Florence from Vegas after a week there for Spring Break, we were listening to General Conference.  I fell asleep several times, but caught some of the words to this poem and loved them.  I immediately grabbed my phone and sent myself a text with the words I could remember, so that I could reference them later.   Today was my day to teach in Relief Society, and as I was preparing,  I searched for the talk that contained this poem.  Interestingly,  after a million searches on LDS.org and Google,  I could not find it.  I went talk by talk looking for the words of this poem that I had jotted down, but did not find them.  Weird, huh?  So weird.  Maybe the rest of the talk was awful so they wiped away the record of it?  Maybe I was dreaming when I heard the words?  Maybe I needed to hear these words, so they were sent by an angel though Brian's phone (on which we were listening to Conference) straight to only me?  I'm not sure.  What I know is that I did hear these words that day, and I did find the full poem online--so it does exist.   I just don't know how nobody else seems to remember having heard it and I can't find any record of it having been quoted at conference.  Anyway, I love it:

Prayer of a Sportsman

Dear Lord, in the battle that goes on through life
I ask but a field that is fair,
A chance that is equal with all in the strife,
A courage to strive and to dare;
And if I should win, let it be by the code
With my faith and my honor held high;
And if I should lose, let me stand by the road,
And cheer as the winners go by.
And Lord, may my shouts be ungrudging and clear,
A tribute that comes from the heart,
And let me not cherish a snarl or a sneer
Or play any sniveling part;
Let me say, "There they ride, on whom laurel's bestowed
Since they played the game better than I."
Let me stand with a smile by the side of the road,
And cheer as the winners go by.
So grant me to conquer, if conquer I can,
By proving my worth in the fray,
But teach me to lose like a regular man,
And not like a craven, I pray;
Let me take off my hat to the warriors who strode
To victory splendid and high,
Yea, teach me to stand by the side of the road
And cheer as the winners go by.



-Berton Braley

Maybe it's the fact that I love sports and just attended Camp's final track meet for the season; maybe it's having watched my kids play soccer for the last 6 weeks' worth of Saturdays.  Maybe it's just that I love me a good show of sportsmanship.  Maybe it's because I struggle with jealousy and being happy for the successes and fortune of others.  Whatever it is, I'm definitely a sucker for a good sentimental poem and I loved this one.  I'm going to always try to cheer as the winners go by.

Lately I've been making my way through Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling again, and it's hit me how incredibly important the records recorded in journals are to our understanding of history.  

I can't imagine that my blog will be of any import to history in general, but it will certainly be important as a record of my history, right?  And maybe someday it will be important for someone to understand my history.  I don't know.  

For my birthday, Jayne Edman gave me a binder in which to record my spiritual experiences and insights.  So thoughtful, right?  It has made me regret not having recorded so many of these things before and created a desire in me to be better about it from now on.    And doing this is important to me because I want to remember the times the Lord has whispered things to me through his Spirit.   At this point, I feel like it is so difficult to know what is true.  All I really have to lean on is what I feel God has communicated to me.  My truths.  You know?   I want my kids to know what I feel the Lord has tried to teach me.  Here is some of that:

God loves me.  He gives me a million chances and he never gives up on me. 

If I want Brian to be my biggest fan, all I have to do is be his biggest fan.

A lot of weakness and strength can exist in the same person.  A lot of strength and weakness exist within me. 

Not only am I free to love and appreciate the strengths and good qualities of others despite whatever their weaknesses are, but that is God's commandment to me. 

I need to learn to shut. my. mouth.  

I am selfish and I need to learn to think of others before myself. 

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Recently,  I had been praying that Heavenly Father would help me to recognize ways to show Brian my love in a way he would recognize and feel.  I had also been praying that the Spirit would speak to me LOUDLY so that I could hear it.  (Why does the Spirit always have to whisper??)  The other night, Brian was upstairs working on finishing the bathroom up there.  Several times, I had the impression to go ask him if he needed my help.  I did not want to help him.  I was tired and anxious to go to bed.  I felt like it was reasonable for any person to want to go to bed at 9 o'clock at night instead of working on a bathroom.  Even so, I kept having the feeling that I should offer my help.  I didn't.    The next morning, Brian and I got into an argument on the phone and during our conversation, Brian yelled, "Of all the time I have spent working upstairs, you have only helped me ONE time!"  I realized then that the impression I had received the night before had indeed come from the Spirit.  Sure it was reasonable for me to have wanted to go to bed.  Sure it was true that Brian had never asked for my help.  Sure it was true that Brian had rarely offered to help with all the work I had had to do.  Nevertheless, I had asked Heavenly Father to show me ways to show Brian my love and he had answered me.  I just didn't want to hear the answer.  



Monday, January 30, 2017

Skip's Night

It used to be that every night, all four of my kids would call to me after having gotten in bed, "Mom, will you come lay with me?"  (Yeah, it should be lie with me, but who cares?) And this became a real problem because lying with all four of them for a period of time every night meant that I got no time to myself, which I desperately needed and wanted at the end of each day.  So at some point, I came up with a solution that was probably inspired by a tradition Sarah has with her kids.  I assigned each kid one night of the week.  Now, on his/her night, each kid gets to have me lie with them and do whatever it is they want to do while we lie together in bed.

At the beginning, Danin always wanted me to sing to her.  During my time with her on "her nights"  I sang to and taught her that old country song called Johnny's Daddy (Is that what it's called?)  She loved it and learned it quickly.  Then she and I started watching videos from Les Mis (the movie and the play) on YouTube and she started learning the songs from watching them so many times.  That was how I introduced her to Les Mis.  Usually, now, she just likes to read to me or have me read to her.

Most of the time on her night, Janey reads to me, too.  She's a great reader, that girl.  And now, she has me rub her back with her little purple back-rubbing tool while she reads.  It's fun to get little snippets of the books she's reading.

Camp ALWAYS takes advantage of his night by asking me to rub his back.  He knows I cannot say no when it is his night.  And he is picky.  He tells me exactly where to put my hands and where and how to push and apply pressure.  He looooovvvveeess to have his back rubbed, popped and stood on. Sometimes I wonder if something did happen to his back that day when he fell out of our second story 12th street window.  Hmm.  And he talks, too.  He's a talker like me and I love it.  During our time together on his nights, I have often asked him if he likes a girl yet and if he has any more hair in his armpits.  :)

And Skip.  My baby.  On his nights, we snuggle up close and give each other butterfly kisses.  I read to him a lot.  Many times I ask him if he wants me to sing to him and he usually says no.  He asks a lot of questions about what things mean and what is real.  (Isn't it interesting how kids always go through a phase of trying to figure out what is "real"?)  Tonight he asked me why Jesus is in Heaven and how he died and why the guys killed him.  He told me that he never hears God talk and I told him that Heavenly Father and Jesus speak to us through the Holy Ghost.  I told him that when I yell at the kids and am mean, Heavenly Father tells the Holy Ghost to whisper to me, Stop yelling.  He asked what the Holy Ghost is and I told him the Holy Ghost is a spirit--a person without a body.   Tonight I also reminded Skip that on Saturday he will get to go to Noah's birthday party.  I asked him if he plays with Noah at school and he said he does.  I then reminded him that every time I have previously asked him who he plays with at school, he has told me, nobody.  He laughed and told me he likes to tell lies.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Nothing To Say and Pictures of the House

I'm sure you can guess which pictures were taken by my talented photographer sister, Laura Hendricks (havhouse on Instagram) and which ones I took with my outdated phone.  I am also realizing that I didn't take any photos of the laundry room or powder bath (and of course, none of the upstairs space).  But those spaces have all changed quite a bit, so I'll post updated pictures of them soon.  
































Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What I Think

What's up with all the weirdos posting a bunch of--well, just seven-- spam comments on my last post?  How do I delete them?  I'm much happier with my normal zero comments than with a bunch of nonsense comments.
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I've realized something.  I've always said how much I love writing on my blog.  I love my blog.  It's my place to communicate, and communication is so, so important to me.  I can say whatever I want and go on forever, and I always have some pretended active listener.  It's my journal, my record of all the things I think and feel--a record that I hope will be important to my children someday.  And YET, I never write on it...  Why is that?  I know now.   Many years back, I thought I loved to cook.  I would cook (what I thought were) yummy meals and invite other people to come over and enjoy them with us.  And then at some point, I realized that cooking wasn't the part of the experience that I enjoyed at all.  It was the eating and socializing part that I loved...not the cooking.   Last night as I was thinking about writing on my blog, I came to the same type of realization:  it's not writing on my blog that I love, it's having writing on my blog that I love.  See?  Unfortunately for me, there's only one way to get that writing here.  I heard somewhere recently that that guy who started Facebook (what's his name again?.... Ian??) is working on developing technology that will allow us to communicate directly to others without ever having to type anything.  Our devices will be able to just pick up on our thoughts and sentiments and send them directly to others.  It would be (will be?) so cool to just be able to send my thoughts and my feelings directly to my blog someday.  But anyway.

I'm vey judgmental.  It's so awful.  But at least I recognize this about myself, right?  Isn't that the first step?

I feel judgment and resentment toward women who get boob jobs.  Weird, huh?  Yeah.  And WRONG.  Totally un-Christlike.  Because I know many women who have boob jobs and they are kind and good and fun etc., etc...  I know my judgement comes from my own fears  and insecurities.  It's like I feel that with every woman who gets a boob job, my own boobs--and body, by extension--become less desirable by comparison.  It's like when so many women are getting boob jobs, the REAL way a women's body looks after child-bearing gets forgotten so that a new manufactured body is the new standard.  You know what I mean?  How is my flat-chested body supposed to remain desirable to my husband when there are fake boobs running around everywhere?  Sigh.  I don't know.  Like I said.  I know this issue is just a manifestation of my own pride and lack of charity.  So I'll work on it and pray that Heavenly Father increases my ability to be content with myself and confident that Brian will love me and think I'm beautiful no matter what.

That reminds me.  I have a girlfriend who is going through a really tough time in her marriage right now.  I feel so heartbroken for her.  Brian and I are going through a really good time right now (and I am SO GRATEFUL) but talking with my friend reminded me of how incredibly hard marriage is and how desperate and sorrowful I (and Brian, too, no doubt) have felt so many times in the past.   I have wondered at times whether Brian and I will ever be able to really understand one another.  Sometimes I think that as part of our reward in Heaven, we will be given the opportunity to really be able to UNDERSTAND one another and see the world through each other's eyes for the first time--so that we can see and really feel one another's pains accurately.  You know?  I imagine that truly becoming like Christ IS what allows us that ability.  And then again, sometimes I feel like if and when I become way more like Christ, I will no longer care about being validated and understood because at that point I will have been finally able to forgive and put the past behind me and be grateful for the progress we have made.   Maybe it will be a combination of both those things.  But anyway...

Like I said, right now Brian and I are in a really good place and I am so happy.  And oh, man.  I hope Brian is happy, too.  That's one of the things that is so hard for my friend.  She thought she and her husband were really happy.  She WAS really happy.  It totally blindsided her to find out her husband wasn't feeling the same way..  So hard, right?  SO hard.

Wow.   This is totally not what I was thinking this blog post was going to be.  I was going to write about the house and the holidays and all my kids' birthdays...But wait.  One more thing.  I finally realized--just last year--that the reason Brian and I are always fighting around the time of Valentine's Day and our anniversary in February is because it is right smack in the middle of what always turns our to be the slowest time for our business!  Why did I never recognize this before??  This year, however, I am armed with this acknowledgement and I am determined to not let this slower season get me stressed.  It will pass.  It always passes.  So there's no point getting my panties in an bundle over it.  It is January 18th today and we are happy, so we may just be able to make our way through February without freaking out!  Yay!!

So yeah.  We finished the house.  Thank dang goodness.  The year and a half that we spent planning and building the house constituted the second-hardest period of our marriage.  It was so, so....hard.  When I think about what made it so hard,  I'm not really sure.  It was just so much stress on Brian that he became more unhappy and unpleasant than he has EVER been before.  And that, of course, meant that I was also stressed and unhappy and unpleasant.  And I don't mean to say that it was Brian's fault that that period of time was so horrible.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I caused most of the stress Brian was feeling during that time.  So it was more MY fault.  But anyway... so glad to have the door shut to that period of time forever.

Fortunately, we all looovee the house.  We have had some really difficult and sad situations with some of our neighborhood members (which I don't feel like writing about) but this house has been such a place of peace and fun for these last 4 months.  We are truly loving it.  What a blessing.