Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Girl.... 22 months old today.

I honestly chased her all over the house to get one photo of her.  This is the best I could do today.

She is a JOY! She's at the point where everyday has new words, or at least new words that I can understand and thus translate for the rest of the world.

Today, the word was "Ruum ruum." This means "car."
Yesterday, the word was "Hannies," which translates to "hands."
I truly love this age.

She still takes two naps a day, which is a total blessing considering I'm trying to get schoolwork done during the day. She has her favorite blanket, which, by the way, is known as a "Didi." She likes fuzzy blankets. My other kids, all but one, were into silky things. She is a thumb sucker, but only when she goes to sleep.  If you put her didi on your shoulder, she'll snuggle right into your neck, suck her thumb and be content there for a good long time.

She runs. She loves our dog and tells her to "Mom. Mom," which means "Come. Come." She slaps her thighs as she says this.

She'll walk into the bathroom and say, "Potty.  Potty."   I've put her on the potty twice, but she really doesn't have a clue what that's all about yet.

I've been thankful for #3's orthodontia and the need for rubberbands that are just the perfect size for pigtails for #7.

Please ("peeze") and "dit-du" (thank you) are big parts of her vocabulary, and it seems that she knows just when to use them.  Yay!

She also knows how to open the front door if the deadbolt isn't set.

Yesterday, while we were making cookies--she, #6 and two of #6's bubs--#6 had put a chair in front of the sink so the boys could wash their hands.  She climbed on the chair while I was getting ingredients out of the cupboard, reached across the sink (feet leaving the chair), and turned on the water.  She then proceeded to wash her hands--thus "hannies, hannies" being yesterday's word of the day.  That's what she said as she washed.

Two days ago, she somehow stripped #2's bed down to the mattress, climbed up on it--it's pretty high off the ground, and fell asleep right in the middle of it.  We were all pretty surprised.  #2 was pretty disappointed that he was going to have to figure out how to move the sleeping girl without waking her up and remake his bed entirely before climbing into it.

She's a character and is just starting to get into EVERYTHING...and away we go!

This, by the way, is my 900th post!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spouting Off

Just wanted to spout off about a few things today.  Just for the heck of it.

First, for my adolescent lit. class, I had to choose a topic and pick three books that fit that topic.  I chose teen manners.

I just finished the first book, Classy by Derek Blasberg.  He must be somebody important because he said so, but I honestly don't know who he is.  He's a guy who grew up in Missouri and has ended up in NYC as a fashion guy somehow.  It seems that his purpose in this book is to take really skanky people and teach them not to be that way, but to be high class--one extreme to the other.  He said a lot of good things at the end about treating yourself right.  Other than that, there are a lot of pictures with Derek with this famous person and that famous person and where he went, what he did, and who he was with even though he was a boy from Missouri.

When I read these books, I try to look at them through my daughters' eyes.  What could they gain from them?  Not much from this one, I'm sorry to say.

I'm currently reading the second book I chose.  Honestly, I'm trying to find the virtue in these books, but again, not finding it too much here either.  I'm reading More Things You Need to Be Told by the Etiquette Grrls.  I guess this is their second book.  I bet you can't guess what the first was called....Oh, you're good.  Yup...Things You Need to Be Told.  My guess is that there were a lot of people who liked that first book.  So many so that it went to their heads just a wee bit.

I had hoped this would be about etiquette.  It is not, for the most part.  They deal with everything from what car you should drive to what sports you should and should not watch and/or participate in.  They do have a few etiquette rules, but mostly, it seems like they want everyone to be like them.

...And if they call me "Dear Reader" one more time....

Can I be negative about one more thing, and then I'll leave this all behind me?

One thing about etiquette is using societal rules, right?  I may not be a perfect grammarian (as is very apparent), but I know that You Don't put Random Capital letters at the beginning of Any random word you want in a Sentence.  It's just making me a bit crazy.  Not very appropriate, if you ask me.  I've been trying to find some rhyme or reason to it, but if there's some secret code to it, I haven't cracked it yet.  I guess to me, this is kind of like how Flylady (whom I love) and is all about organization used to have one of the most cluttered websites I've ever seen.  Not sure if it's still this way because I don't have the heart to go there.  It's been a long time.  Just seems a bit contradictory to teach something yet go against the very thing you're teaching.

Okay, so karma's going to come bite me in the rear end for this post.  I just know it.  I try very hard to be positive and upbeat and happy.  I think there's too much out there that's the opposite.  Here I am being the opposite, but at least I'm honest, huh?

When I read something good, which I hope is soon.  I'll be sure to tell you.  I will finish the current book tomorrow.  Then I'm on to this one.  Hope it's a good one!  It's a lot of pages.

NOTE:  Just went to the Flylady site to get a link for you.  Ugh!  Worse than before.  Her method really is lovely though.  Once you get the basic premise, I'd say fit it to your life.  Don't let the website get you down.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stepping Stones

This came from my brother's facebook status last night: 

Isn't it strange that princes and kings
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings
And common folk like you and me
Are the builders of eternity.

...To each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass and a book of rules;
And each must make, ere time is flown,
A stumbling-block or a stepping-stone.

R. L. Sharpe 

So, what are you making today and how?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Too Many M&Ms

I WAY over bought for Easter.  WAY!  I didn't even blink twice when I threw packages of M&Ms in these cookies.  Can't wait for FHE tonight!

Six Words

For my finance class, I have to create personal goals, as I wrote a few posts ago.  The final assignment for that particular lesson is to write my own obituary.  One thing I've read, as I'm preparing for this assignment is that I should come up with six words to describe myself.

So, I'm curious.  What six words would you use for yourself?

Pride (Part III): Motives

It's been awhile since I've read Ezra Taft Benson's talk on Pride.  Here are the first two installments (I and II).  It's been on my mind today, so I thought I'd spend my scripture study time looking a bit further into these great words.  Hope you enjoy them too.  Here's the talk in its entirety if you're interested.

·         Christ was ready to support His Father’s plan and be the Savior that His Father needed to step up to save us all.  Christ would just do it for no glory—just out of love for His Father and thus us.  Lucifer would do it by force.  He would take away our agency, which is an eternal principle, but his catch…the glory.  He had to have it in order to do it.  He wanted credit for his part in it all.  He wanted to be God.

How does this relate to us?  Do we do things just for the sake of doing something good and right and because we love God and my fellow beings?  Or, do we want credit and thanks and to be placed on a pedestal by others?  Do we want the glory?

·         Pride will destroy us.  It was the problem with Sodom.  "The scriptures abound with evidences of the severe consequences of the sin of pride to individuals, groups, cities, and nations. 'Pride goeth before destruction.'"

Ezekiel 16:49-50: 
49Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister aSodom, bpride, fulness of bread, and abundance of cidleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
 50And they were haughty, and committed aabomination before me: therefore I took them baway cas I saw good.

So, if we want to be free of pride, we must be grateful for all that we have knowing that it could be taken away at any moment.  We need to give to others—do random acts of kindness just because our fellowmen are His children too.  It seems that we are frequently afraid to act on another’s behalf because in this day and age, there are sometimes dire consequences, so we’ve dropped the Good Samaritan idea.  Do we fear man more than God?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Song for Me?

We were in the car tonight, #1, the Warden and me. The Warden turned to #1 and said, "This song is about your mom." Aww. I've never heard him say any song was mine. I'm a huge Josh Groban fan, so nice. I'll take it.

Easter Breakfast Casserole

I shared this link in my last post.  It ended up so good, but I changed it so much it doesn't resemble that link any more, so here's the recipe for you. 

In place of the cheese, I put this:

I got it with a coupon.  I wasn't sure what I was going to use it for, but it made this SO GOOD!


  • 1 pkg. frozen shredded O'Brien hash browns with onions and peppers
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pkg. Philadelphia Italian cheese and herb cooking cream
  • 12 eggs, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
  2. Cook and stir sausage in a medium saucepan over medium heat until evenly browned; drain.
  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir hash browns into saucepan, and cook until potatoes are browned and onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Place potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Cover with sausage. Spoon cooking cream over and top with eggs.
  4. Bake 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until eggs are fully cooked.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happens Every So Often

Today was definitely one of our tougher days. I think I've gotten to be somewhat of a control freak. I take for granted that my kids are fairly obedient, but they do have phases. Right now I have two kids who are in one of those I'm-going-to-do-what-I-want-to-do phases. It also happens to correspond with the what-I-want-to-do-is-the-opposite-of-what-you-want-me-to-do-phase. Ugh!

We met in #1's room for scriptures this morning.  It was less than an idyllic setting, but it worked.  Tomorrow, #2 is the lucky winner of our company.  YAY!!!

At the end of scriptures, I lowered the boom.  The good ol' Saturday job list.  Each person in the family (the Warden and myself included) was to start with cleaning his/her bedroom and then complete his/her weekly job, but all they had to do was straighten their area.  The first person to report for family scripture study then got to choose a deep cleaning job.  This was to be done after the weekly job was completed.  The choices were vacuum, sweep and mop hard floors, glass, bathrooms, scour kitchen and clean table, yard, and garbages.

Here's the funniest thing about this list.  I LOVE doing the garbages--easiest job in the house.  It's the job EVERYONE else hates.  Honestly, if they had to choose shave your head or empty the garbages, they'd choose to go with the new hairstyle.

Because of the children I mentioned above, things were very frustrating.  Nothing I said or did motivated one of the kids.  I am at a total loss here.  My problem is that, although it's all their choice, I look back and wonder what I've done wrong--not consistent enough, not enough jobs assigned, etc.

The rest of us got our jobs done, but that one child....Ugh!  Besides that fact, I love that many hands make light work, and the house looks so much better.

When we were done, I took #1 shopping.  My toes have been hurting a lot lately.  I can't think of any reason why, but it was decided that maybe I needed a new pair of shoes.  I am not one of those women who has a dozen or more pairs of shoes.  I have one that I wear everyday and a pair for Sundays.  I also own two pairs of boots and a pair of tennis shoes.

#1 and I ran around everywhere.  Finally, at the last place--J.C. Penney's--we found the perfect pair, but they didn't have my size, so they ordered them for me.  YAY for packages arriving on my doorstep!

During our search, I found a super cute, what #1 calls "bubblegum pink," trench coat and a grey scarf with butterflies on it.  I couldn't say no to them.  I'm not one to wear super bright colors, but this coat just makes me happy.  I haven't bought anything for myself in a long time.  We also found a few things for #1, so it was a good trip.

Tonight we colored eggs, and I'm working on cupcakes for tomorrow night.  I'm now going to get breakfast prepared.  I'm making this.  Hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011


You know how a few posts ago I mentioned how we do things around here and how things get turned topsy-turvy from time to time when someone's schedule changes?  Well, #1 had a zero period class last trimester--weight lifting, which we all got a good laugh over with out little svelte girl.

I mean, I know that weight-bearing exercise is good, but it was just funny to have her come home from school everyday telling us how much she "benched" that day.  We teased her that this was her future:

Anyway, zero period starts at 6:30am.  This was our family scripture time.  With early morning weight-lifting taking priority (Ugh!), we had a very difficult time getting back on top of things.  We would half-heartedly get together for scriptures a couple days a week.  It was frustrating.

Although that trimester ended awhile ago, it's been really hard to get ourselves back on track.  We have been feeling a need to get back with it, and today was our first day of working it out successfully!

At 6:30 this morning, we called all the kids to a "come as you are" party in the Warden's and my bedroom.  We cleaned it beautifully last night, so it would be ready for this occasion.  The kids dragged themselves down hallways and down and up stairs still in their pajamas and wrapped in blankets.  They were each handed a Book of Mormon (we purchased the hard back cheap versions from Deseret Book and had first names embossed on each a number of years ago) as they found a seat on the floor or on the bed.

The scriptures are housed in a basket that usually resides in our front room.  All of the copies fit perfectly in this basket. 

The basket was also brought to our bedroom last night in preparation for this morning.

We read a chapter--each of us read two verses.  We ended with family prayer.

When we were done, there was such an immense feeling of satisfaction.  We had done it!

So, here's the thing....The last child to arrive this morning gets to host tomorrow's family scripture study.  #1's the winner!  She just announced that her room is a disaster area.  What a wonderful opportunity for her to get it together!  Heh heh -- can you hear the evil twinge in my voice?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Princess Theory

Sometimes you just do things because they're the right things to do.  Even if you don't really want to.

A number of years ago, while sitting in church, I heard something along these lines...

"If you want to speak to God, pray.  If you want to hear His answers, read the scriptures."

Let's just say I've spent most of my life wanting to hear His answers more than I've wanted to speak to Him.  I've always loved reading the scriptures, but I've just been lousy at praying.  So, a couple years ago, I decided that I needed to be obedient just for the sake of being obedient and pray on a more consistent basis.

I decided that my bed was going to be my memory trigger.  When I got up in the morning, right after I made the bed, I would kneel down to pray.  When I went to bed at night, before I pulled the covers back, I would kneel down again.  This has been great, and I have come a long way, but I have learned that I am a verbal pray-er.  My mind wanders too easily, so I have resorted to praying in a secret place.  It seems to work much better.  If worse comes to worse, I will still kneel by my bed.  I figure as long as I'm saying them, it doesn't really matter; it just benefits me more if I do it in the ideal way for me.  Plus, it's really great to have some alone time even if just for a few minutes.

After I had been praying consistently for a number of months, the blessings started.  I guess I had to prove myself and that I was going to continue to obey the commandment to pray before He would send me anything.  I also feel like, because I didn't expect anything from it and had been diligent, I was able to recognize the blessing when it came.

One morning as I prayed, I had a very interesting image enter my mind.  I realized that I was speaking to a King.  Not just any king, THE KING.  As I continued to pray, this little thought grew in my brain.  I considered my relationship to that King and what made me so bold as to think I could actually talk to Him.  The thought occurred to me that of course I should speak to Him and often; as His daughter, I am a princess.  After all, He is my Heavenly Father.  As a princess, I have been given a stewardship.  He's given me a part of His Kingdom to care for.  I need to report for duty every morning and report on my duties at night.

If I had only learned these lessons earlier in my life.  Would I have been more diligent in my praying?  Would I have appreciated the lesson for what it was?  Probably not.  Everything happens at the right time and for the right reason.  I truly believe this.

The other great thing that comes from this viewpoint is that everyone around me is also a prince or princess, and we all have different responsibilities.  None of us is the same and none of our stewardships are the same.  We can account only for ourselves.  We cannot compare ourselves in any way, shape or form.  We are all unique with our own responsibilities.

So, this way of looking at prayer has increased my desire to pray.  I look at my days very differently.

At the gala, in the biographical sketches of one of the women who has been nominated for Mother of the Year for 2012, it stated that she wakes in the morning, raises her arms to heaven and states, "Heavenly Father, [her name] reporting for duty."  I realized, upon hearing this, that she must have had a similar experience.  LOVE IT!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spiritual Chocolate

#1 got in the car this evening after the high school track meet.  She was just bubbling with happiness.  She said, "I've been so happy lately, and I think I know why."  Her reasoning:  "I think it's because I've been reading the Book of Mormon everyday."  I told her that it has that same effect on me.  She said, "Yah, it's kind of like spiritual chocolate."

More Deets?...Really?

Okay, so someone asked for more details on the gala.  I'm happy to oblige.  I'll try to give you the whole scoop in a nutshell....

First of all, from 10am to 2pm on Saturday, the American Mothers of Oregon had a convention downtown, so a number of the women I spent the evening with at the gala, I'd already spent a few hours with earlier in the day.  At the convention, I sat between the 2006 and 2010 Mothers of the Year.  No pressure there, huh?  And, I'm sure during lunch I made a social faux pas or two, no doubt.  Ah well.  What would you expect?  But, they were very nice, and I enjoyed myself immensely.

There were some pretty funny things that happened at the convention, so maybe I'll lay those on you first.

I was raised in the Hamm family.  We were a pretty raucous crew.  My sister left for college four months after I was born.  Yes, you read that right, and I was raised with four brothers--three older, one younger.  You may ask why this even matters to the story, so now I'll explain.

While I was in line for lunch, an earlier Young Mother of the Year asked me how I knew the 2006 Mother of the Year.  I explained and then told the 2006 MoY that the Young Mother's husband had been my seminary teacher in high school and how he had survived all of the Hamm kids.  You see, my brother at one point punched that teacher.  I'm sure the Young Mother knew who I was before this (that he was my brother), but maybe not considering her response.  Do I need to explain more about my family? Actually, we're not really all that bad, and I'm pretty sure my brother has a great story as to what really happened.

I left the lunch line with a bit of a negative feeling about that interaction but kept a smile on my face and went to make my lunch faux pas at the table.  I started chatting with 2010.  She was great; very down to earth.  I asked her about her family.  She told me about her daughter and her son-in-law.  As she described the son in law, I had a hunch that I knew his family by the description she gave.  I asked if his name was Platt.  She said yes and told me his first name.  Funny thing...that Platt is named after my violent brother.  I got a good kick out of that one.  My brother--you either love him or you hate him.  I used to hate him; now I love the heck out of him.

So, conversation turns across the table.  I start chatting with a young woman who had walked in to join us.  She just moved here from Utah two weeks ago.  I asked her where in town she was living.  She told me the name of her ward.  I told her I thought that might be the ward where my younger brother lives.  She asked his last name.  When I said Hamm, she said, "Oh yes, they brought dinner to us the night we moved in."

I just thought it was hilarious how there were links to my family all around that table and all around that room.  Loved that my negative feeling immediately was turned to positive.  Just a very fun experience.

I will write more about the gala later.  I will also write about the things I learned at the convention.  For now, this is probably long enough.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Real Life

You know things are never quite as they seem. When I show my photo of the gala here and on facebook, this is what you get:

But you don't see all that happened before that. So you don't get the wrong impression, and in a bold attempt to "keep it real," here's how it really is at the Madhouse:

There were also a few of both the Warden and me with crazy faces on, but I promised him I wouldn't do that to him.  In all the photos taken, there was one sane one amongst them, so there you go.

Defy Gravity

#1 checked a Glee soundtrack CD out from the library. The other day, after the American Mothers convention, I was driving home from downtown in #1's little blue car, feeling particularly upbeat and happy--thinking about all I'd learned that day and all that was going to transpire that night and what lies ahead in this coming year. I was also contemplating my goals, and what I want to be and do, and this song came on. Wow! Hope it uplifts you and makes you understand who you are to this world like it did me....

The Results of Some Quiet Time

This morning, I woke up and just enjoyed some time in bed--just thinking.  When the Warden woke, he rolled over and said, "What'cha doing?"  He laughed when I told him I was thinking about the goals I have to create for class.  It seems like every time he's asked me lately, that's what I've been thinking about.  Just can't get it off my mind until I have something concrete.  This assignment needs to be finished before I can move onto the next.

As I lay there in the quiet, I learned to value quiet time--time to meditate and ponder on life.  I swear I don't take enough time for that.

Last night, I did a free write.  It always helps to get my thoughts down in written form (thus a major reason for this blog--too much in my brain and no real focus if I don't write).  I think that exercise really helped me come up with what my goals will be.

The deal with this goals assignment is that I'm supposed to figure out what I want out of life and figure out what God wants for my life.  Oh yah, not a prob.  I'll get right on that.  Ugh!  It's not been a simple exercise, as you can imagine.  After I figure those things out, I'm supposed to pick my top three and give a detailed description of what they are and how I'm going to accomplish them.

Because of some alone time, decisions have finally been made.  Here are my top three:

1.  I want to be around for my children's children.  I want to be able to be there (if my children want me) to help when they bring their babies home from the hospital.  I want to fill the same space my mom filled for me with my first three.  Therefore, my first goal is to work now to promote health and wellness for myself.  The steps that go along with this are:
  • get enough sleep
  • drink enough water
  • exercise
  • eat well
Sounds pretty boring, if you ask me, but my next step is to create a way to do these that will get me motivated.  I will write up a step-by-step plan that will fit with my personality--one that won't overwhelm but will be broken down into simple to follow baby steps.

2.  I want my home to be a "heaven on earth."  When my children and husband come home from school and work, I want them to find a refuge from the storms of life.  I want to incorporate, into our everyday life, things that will make our home peaceful and loving.  I also want to teach my children how to do the same so that when they're out on their own creating their own homes and families, they can follow a similar pattern and it will be second nature to them. 

In order to do this one, I got to looking at The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  In the right hand column, first full paragraph about halfway down, it states: 

"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”

I'm going to base many of the things I do for this goal on this statement.  I'm still in the process of working through it, and I will post more when I get it figured out.

One thing that was stated in the course lessons were that you need to have some fun goals, thus....

3.  Take the family to Disneyland.  A few years ago, I started talking about how much I wanted to go to Disneyland.  The Warden chimed in with, "But wouldn't an Alaskan cruise be fun?"  Okay, yes it would, and yes, his marketing skills are way beyond mine because he grabbed all the kids and practically hopped them all right on board with him.  I had one little ally--my wonderful child #5.  I promised him that he and I would go no matter what.

This morning, after he asked what I was doing, I threw the Disneyland idea at the Warden again.  I explained that Disneyland would be so much more fun than the cruise for our little kids and for  me.  I think we SHOULD take an Alaskan cruise, but we should do it when all of our kids can appreciate it.  I think my skills have improved because he AGREED!  Yay! Okay, first hurdle jumped over.  Now for the others.

I think our biggest two challenges will be money and lodging.  If I can get all the family members thinking the same way, and we find some creative ways to make and save money, there won't be a problem.  Our second problem, I'm not sure how we'll overcome.  I don't think there are hotels big enough or crazy enough to allow a family with two adults and seven children to stay there, and we have no family down in California (plus who in their right mind would put up a family of nine?).  This will be an interesting obstacle to figure out.  Maybe we'll have to do some camping.  We are SO NOT campers.   Anyway, overcome it, we will.  I really want to take the family before #1 leaves for college, so we've got a little more than a year to work it out.

It's so nice to have this part of the assignment done.  Now I can work out the nitty gritty and get on to the next one--a budget.  

The first lesson in this class was on the purpose of money.  I know a lot of people who are out to have money just to have money so they can blow it on whatever they want.  This class has put money into a new perspective for me.  Money's purpose is to serve as a means not an end.  We are to use it to help us fulfill our purpose here in life--to help us reach our goals.  If I look at it that way, I can be satisfied.  If I look at having money as the goal, I will never be satisfied.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Feelings on "Outsiders"

I have two brothers that are adopted.  Anyone who might have been our friends when we were kids probably didn't know this fact.  Actually, I didn't know this until I was about 18.  It was something we didn't talk about.  I actually ended up finding out about it when I was home from college and was helping my mom clean out a drawer.  I ran across a journal and flipped through it.  Something caught my eye about a court case as I flipped through the book, and there was the story.

My brothers knew.  My parents had told them when they were young.  My sister knew because she was there, but the three of us younger kids hadn't a clue.

We were all treated the same.  We were all loved the same.

My dad's feelings were that since both brothers were sealed to our family in the temple, they were ours.  They were no different from the four kids my mother bore.  There was no reason and no benefit to be had by treating anyone differently.  He's a wise man.

As our family expanded and my siblings got married, the same attitude was taken.  My parents called them all their "sons" and "daughters."  There were no outsiders.  They were all treated as the rest of us.  There was never an unkind word spoken about any of us to the others.  When my parents spoke of my brother-in-law or sisters-in-law, it was always with the highest regard, at least as far as I experienced.  My parents were so good at emphasizing how good each in-law was for each sibling and what a miracle it was that each of us had found just the right spouse for ourselves.  There were hugs and kisses for each as we arrived and again as we left the house.

As I look back now, I love that my parents were so accepting and loving.  There is definitely something to be learned here.

Making Your Misery Worth It - Advice for Teen Girls

My husband used to tell our daughters that they wouldn't be able to date until they were 30.  Of course he was kidding around.  I, on the other hand, hoped that our daughters would have their first heartbreak while still living under our roof.

Yesterday, I went to tell my daughter it was time for church and there she was in her bed, fully dressed.  I knew the signs.  She slowly rolled out of bed and onto her feet, and I could tell by her every action that she was experiencing her first heartbreak.

I have learned a lot of this experience.  I went through a few times of my own heartbreak over boys as a teenager.  I can still feel what she's feeling to some degree, and as hindsight is 20/20, I know exactly what I'd do now to get over it successfully.

Yesterday, I let her go through it on her own.  I told her that I was there if she wanted to talk, and I did ask a few questions, but other than that, I knew she needed to learn from her own experience.  So, I left her alone.

This morning, I went up to her room to see how she was faring.  She was happy and chipper.  She had worked through it all and solved it all by herself.  Thankfully, she had never allowed herself to even kiss this guy, but he would tell her that someday he would marry her, etc., so I think he had her hooked to some degree.  Some guys know just what to say and do to draw a girl in even if she wasn't even interested in him to begin with.

So, if she hadn't been better this morning, here's the recipe I created for getting over heartbreak.  I think we have a tendency to draw things out much longer than we need to.  I will also tell you that in these kinds of situations, it's much better to deal with it on your own at first.  Make it into one enormous one-day pity party.  You are the guest of honor and the only person you can invite is you.  In the end, this is an opportunity to celebrate the things that are uniquely yours.

After you've resolved some things, you can then draw your mom or someone you really trust and love to be your support system, but that's only after you have come to some conclusions and created some solutions.  You might want to let those you live with know what you are doing.  Most moms, I would think, would understand--if they've ever had a heartbreak.  If they haven't you might want to find one of your mom's friends who has and have her explain it to her.  Moms listen to fellow moms better than they do their daughters in a lot of cases.  Never have your dad explain it to her cuz dad's just DON'T get it--AT ALL.

Here's the recipe for the ideal heartbreak pity party:

Allow yourself one day to just feel miserable
Know as you go into it that it's only going to last for one day, so have at it.
Shut yourself in your room.
Listen to the saddest music you know.
Try to find the one that fits your situation the best
Cry as you listen to it over and over again.
Write down everything you're thinking and feeling.  Get it all out.
Sleep - better yet, sleep on the floor
Eat ice cream, chocolate, but don't do things that could be dangerous--that's just plain dumb.
When you've felt all the misery you possibly think you can--when you've cried all the tears that you think he's worth crying for....

It's time for a turning point, so make sure you're really done.  Heck, even if you think you're done, go ahead cry for a couple extra minutes, listen to that song one last time.  Then....

Write solutions.
What did he do, or what did you do, to cause you to feel that miserable.
Determine to make yourself a better person, so great that that last guy's no longer worthy of you.
Set goals.  Map out who you want to be and how you're going to get there.
Create baby steps.
Talk to yourself in a positive manner.
Decide to love yourself.
If necessary, come up with a mantra that you can use to remind you of your own value.
As you go to bed that night, pray for strength for the next day.
Wake in the morning with a prayer and a renewed determination to be a new you.
Start your new goals.
Take those baby steps and be grateful for the situation that brought you to this point.
Oh, most importantly, wear something you love--something that makes you look great.

One other note:  NEVER go back to that guy.  NEVER!  He's not worth it nor is he worthy of you.  Make a resolution.  Pull your girlfriends, your mom, anyone who's important to you in on it, so they can strengthen you.  On top of that, remember, we're here on earth to learn from good but more so from bad things in our lives.  This is just one step in preparing you for better things in your life.  It's helping you grow to be who you need to be for your future--to accomplish what you were sent to this earth to do--the things ONLY YOU can do.  So, do it!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Woman of Noble Character ~ Week 4

 I just took a glance back at the archives and found that in 2009 I wrote 179 blog posts in the entire year.  This is my 179th so far this year.  YAY!!!

Week 4:  Proverbs 31:19-21  Do you extend a helping hand to the poor and needy?  Is your family prepared for the possibility of a need?  Write a post about how you are helping the unfortunate, and how you are setting aside for a day when your family may be in need.

19She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the adistaff.
20She stretcheth out her hand to the apoor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

I am happiest when I'm serving.  I know from whom my blessings come, and I know that nothing I have belongs to me, so I have no right to be covetous of it.  I think when it comes to serving others, I follow what my heart tells me.  I trust those feelings and do what I can.  There are just times in life when you have to say no.

The timing of this questions is amazing.  There is a woman I've known for awhile now who has great need of help.  I have assisted her with many things in the past year or so--her kids, her house, etc.  It got to a point where she was no longer willing to do for herself.  It seemed that she just wanted everyone to do for her and there was very little gratitude, just complaint whenever anyone did anything for her.
She told me and everyone in the church community who cared for her that she didn't want to have any contact with us any more.  She burned most likely the largest bridge she had going for her.  I'm not sure how she's survived the past few months.

Although, she said she wanted no contact, she has continued to contact me at least once a week since that time via facebook (she dropped me as a friend, and I am blocked from her profile, but she can still see mine).  I have tried to remain neutral and kind.  I have kind of waited for her to ask for help but all she does is hint at it when she calls.  I'm not sure how to handle this.  I want to help her.  I know that if I were in her shoes, I'd want help, but I guess I would also hope that I might be a bit more kind in return for the help I received.

She wrote to me last night asking me to help her with her children.  I love her children.  I would happily do this for them, but the fear is that once I do this, she will start taking me and my help for granted again.  I'm not saying that I need appreciation or anything for what I do.  It's just that I don't want to enable her.  The fear is that she will start calling multiple times a week and nothing will ever be enough.

It almost felt like she was unhappy if I wasn't sitting around my house waiting for her next phone call.  If I was off doing something or had somewhere I had to be and couldn't be there to help her, she would act very put out and take it very personally.  This was just plain unhealthy for all involved.

I guess the toughest thing is knowing when to draw the line.  I know that there are blessings that come from serving others, but I also know that my first loyalty and service lies with my own family.  I have to look out for my own first.  I just know that if my own children acted like that, I would allow them some tough love learning opportunities.

I have basically asked her to go through the regular channels of the church, but she has stated that they don't care about her any more.  Huh?  She said she didn't want contact with them any more.  What she doesn't understand is that all she has to do is apologize and they'd find the best ways to assist her.

All I have to say about helping my family in a time of need is...we're LDS.  We have food storage and 72 hour kits.  We have a plan for such incidences.  I have to confess I need to work harder to have a year's supply of food and a larger supply of water.  These things overwhelm me a bit.  A year's supply for nine people is no walk in the park.  I would love to have a better system for this, but I think in order to do so you have to have a really organized personality.  I tend to be a bit too random, but I'm working on it.

The Deets on the Gala

I don't really have words to describe the experience of last night.  It was simply delightful.  Dinner was delicious.  The company was wonderful.  Surprisingly, I felt extremely comfortable the entire night.  I anticipated a great deal of nervousness, but even when my shoe came off as I climbed the first step up onto the stage as they were introducing me, I was at ease (you know there HAD to be something, right?  It's just part of being me).

Here is the biographical sketch for your perusal.  Funny thing is, I don't know if they really read this or if they cut things out.  We were to climb two stairs and stop there and turn to look at the audience--seems like I stood there FOREVER.  That entire time is such a blur (tender mercy?).  Maybe that's why I was so at ease.  I hadn't a clue as to what was going on around me.  So, here it is...

"Julie Hess, of Beaverton, Oregon, is the daughter of Ray and Ruth Hamm, and wife of 18 years to *** a principal in the Beaverton School District. She is only a few classes away from earning her Bachelor of General Studies with a focus in Family Living through Brigham Young University.

"She authors “Hesses Madhouse,” a blog and online memoir of her life as mother to three daughters: ***, 17; ***, 13;  ***, 20 months; and four sons: ***, 15; ***, 11; ***, 8; and ***, 4. She would describe this blog as her “outlet”... [Her husband] says, “It’s where Julie goes to spill her guts.” It is also where she shares her latest crock-pot recipes and coupon finds since, with 7 children, both have proven to make life a little more manageable.

"In high school, Julie was informed by a friend that “not everything in life is a joke.” This was news to her, as she tends to find the fun and funny in everything.

"In her early 20’s, Julie served an LDS mission to northern Japan where she learned to love the Japanese people and their culture. Wanting to share that same opportunity to experience living in a foreign country with others, as newlyweds, she and [her husband] hosted several exchange students.

"During that time, Julie taught English as a second language to college students studying in the United States. She also enjoyed guiding groups of foreign students on tours of the Portland area.

"She can very often be found piloting the family’s enormous van, “The Beast”, or “Hessmobile” around town as she makes sure the aforementioned brood and typically, several of their friends, get to where they need to be. At least monthly, the Hess family plays host to those many passengers with a pizza party!

"Julie has a passion for volunteering. She has enjoyed such service opportunities as being a Girl Scout leader as well as a Cub Scout leader, teaching all ages at church, as well as leading music and assisting with the young women there.  She has spent weeks of her summer vacations at Girls’ Camp as well as Girl Scout and Cub Scout day camp.  She has been a speaker at various youth conferences and activities.  

"Currently she serves on her boys’ Cub Scout committee and heads up the children’s organization at church as well as helping at her kids’ schools. Each week, fifth grade math and second grade reading students benefit from the extra, one on one help she is able to give them. She also has enjoyed working in the cafeteria at the middle school and assisting with special events and being involved in her children’s sports activities.

"When given her choice of family activities, Julie loves to hike the trails of the Columbia River Gorge. Her children are happy to oblige, knowing that there will be burgers and fries in Cascade Locks at the end of the day.

"Julie’s mom passed away in 1999 after a year-long battle with cancer. Julie treasured those last months that allowed her to follow her mother’s example of compassion and service by tending to her during that time. Ruth Hamm was Julie’s greatest example of motherhood. From her mother, Julie gained a passion for family.

"Because of photos and items that her mother kept, Julie has become involved with helping restore some of the history of the northwest with the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum in Spokane, Washington.

"Julie feels that the greatest gift she can offer her children is to teach them the skills to make the transition from closely-nurtured babyhood through semi-independent adolescence and on to being fully capable adults during the time she is guiding them. Julie loves having the privilege of being their mother."

So, there it is.   I have to admit I was a bit awestruck by the greatness that surrounded me.  It was a wonderful night.

The photos on the side are those that were shown in the slideshow as the bio was read.


I just have to post one little detail that meant more to me than anything about the Mother of the Year gala.  I will post more details later.  This is totally unrelated to the festivities of the night, so I hope you'll just indulge me for a minute.

When all was said and done, they took us all over to have our pictures taken.  As I walked away from those I was talking to to head over to the photographer, a man I'd never seen before walked up to me.  He said, "You served in Sendai, didn't you?"  I responded with a yes.  Not sure how he knew.  He said, "So did I.  Have you been really down lately?"  I replied, "Oh, yes."  His reply, "Me too."

Instant bond with the man I've never meant before.  I know no one in my area that served there.  Just knowing there was a face-to-face person who felt similarly to me meant more to me than I can say.  Such a small thing.  We had the chance to talk about the places we served and the people we knew for only a few moments, but just that much relieved my sadness so profoundly.

I am grateful for yet another tender mercy.  So glad there's Someone who knows my heart so well.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Big Day

Got a phone call that, because of overly wet fields (we live in Oregon, figures), all soccer games are cancelled for today.  I have two very disappointed boys.  On the other hand, the Warden and I are very relieved.  Today is the day of the American Mothers annual convention.  I hesitated to RSVP yes because of all the crazy running around, but didn't see how I could possibly miss it.  At this point, I'm glad I'm going.  The Warden's glad not to have to do all the running around town by himself.

The convention is from 10am to 2pm.  I would have loved to have gone with friends.  Next year, I'm taking buddies with me.  Let me know if you'd be interested in attending.  We'll make a fun day of it.

Tonight is the gala.  The dress is ready.  Here's a little sneak peek (more like a teaser):

This is the lace on the bodice of the dress and the cuffs of the jacket.
Tonight, is the night of introductions.  They will announce the winner for 2011 Young Mother (GO MELISSA!!!) and Mother of the Year for the state of Oregon, and introduce the nominees for 2012.  The Warden and I will walk to the front while they read my biographical sketch, and the photo of my family will be shown.  He will leave me and walk back to his table, and I will attempt to not make a fool out of myself sitting in front of everyone.  Thank goodness my parents were wise enough to teach their kids how to eat in more formal settings.  I figure if I do make a fool out of myself, at least I'll give everyone some comedy relief, so it's all good.

I will post my biographical sketch and photos tomorrow. 

Pray for me, okay?  I'm gonna need it.  Just getting up to the table without tripping'll be a feat.  I'm a little coordinationally challenged.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Putting Foundations Under My Castles

I just started taking Personal Finance.  It was an elective.  That's all I have left.  YAY electives!  I think I deserve this after taking darned statistics, but really, when it comes down to it, what do I really deserve?

The goal of this class is to create a personal financial plan, but before any of that can be accomplished, goals must be set.

Oh, I love this kind of stuff.  It just gets me all excited!  Is that weird?  Are there other people like this or am I just extremely nerdly in my own special way?

When I was about 14 and went to seminary for the first time, we would have a daily devotional.  We, smart alec kids in my class, found a quote book and located the shortest quote we could find.  We agreed with each other, out of earshot of our teacher, that that would be our devotional on any day when we weren't prepared or were called on spur of the moment.  Little did I know that that quote would haunt me again in my life, and little did I know how much impact this quote would have on me.  It was as follows:

"An unwritten goal is merely a wish."

I don't even know who said it.  So, have you written any goals lately?  What are you working to accomplish?  I love that the foundation of this goal setting (laid out by the course), is to find what I feel Heavenly Father wants me to be and find the steps to getting there.

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them” (Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854).

If you're interested, I will share these things as I develop them.  Fun times ahead!  I'm almost giddy with excitement.  I know, I know....What a nerd!

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