Thursday, April 24, 2014

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

There are many htings I want to write about today. So, this post may be random and disjointed but, it is how I think and this is my blog, so...
       First on my list? Marriage. I have been thinking a lot about the blessings of marriage. I am grateful for the opportunity i have been given to be with John all of these years. They have been awesome years. I really can't believe I have been married for so long. John and I see so many things through the same eyes. It is incredible. We also have differences (a lot of them). But, I sure wouldn't change the progress we have made together. I am lucky to have someone who loves children. He doesn't mind taking care of them. He doesn't mind taking care of the house, yard or whatever else has to be done. I love that! He likes taking the kids to the cabin by himself. Not for praise from others but because he recognizes I need some time to myself. He is just amazing. I come up with some crazy ideas sometimes, and he quietly listens (probably hoping/praying I will change my mind). He supports and encourages my dreams even at the cost of his own sanity. :/ How did I ever find someone who believes in me so much? How did I ever get so blessed?
      Second, I have been having some issues and I feel it is time I made a stand. I have wrestled with this decision for a long time. Anxiety creeps into my gut as I even write this. (afraid of the backlash) Here are my thoughts. I love people. I don't care what your color is, what your religion is, what your problems or hang ups are...I just LOVE people. Currently, there is much being said about same sex marriage. I feel it is time I make a stand. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. I make no apologies for my religious views and preferences. I have many friends and family members who are either living in a same sex relationship or have been married. My views are, what you do in your life is personal and up to you. I make too many mistakes to judge someone on their choices. You have the right to decide how you want to live. I will continue to love and respect you. It is almost taboo right now to speak against same sex marriage. People can be funny. They want "equal rights and opportunities" but if you oppose this, you are evil and wrong etc... I admire people for being a voice for their beliefs. There is no need to bash or get ugly with varying opinions. So in this, we will have to agree to disagree and move on. I have to say, I don't support same sex marriage. This is a personal choice and decision I have come to on my own. I do follow the counsel given to me by my church leaders but, ultimately my decisions are mine. They are not because someone has told me what to think or do. We all need to take a stand on what we believe. We all need to be a voice for change and good. We even need to stand up if we will ultimately stand alone. I love and respect your opinion and I hope you will be kind and gracious and accept mine.
      Finally, life is hard! There are certainly joyous moments but, there are many difficult trials too. Perfection in our mortal life doesn't exist. I am sorry, everyone has problems. What we do with our problems is what makes us who we are. It is time we accepted responsibility for ourselves. It is time we start learning to love the person we have been, who we are now, and who we are becoming. So what if you are overweight? Does that give you any less value than a thin person? Nope. Love yourself. Love who you are. Love the journey you are on. Enjoy the hard road and be grateful when an easier road comes along. Laugh more. Play more. Enjoy more. The treasures in life are not what you have gained financially but, what you gain eternally. Take time to have those moments in life you will cherish forever. Find joy in your journey. Find the uniqueness in yourself. Find the happiness within. This life will lead you on an incredible journey if you let it.
     one final thought...your perfection is different from mine. embrace our differences. we complement each other. it takes all kinds. we are equal. we are what makes our country, community and family strong. improve on that strength and you will be able to feel the joy and love that is waiting for you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Top 10 things people say to my family...and the answers

10. Are they all yours? Yes. they are all of mine. recently at Costco a man commented that we had a lot of groceries. we said something like "we have 16 kiddos at home." He said, "Wow! i thought I had a lot with 11!" We replied, "that is a lot!" (people often think this is a competition) He said, "well, mine are all from one wife." John said, "well, I can't make that same claim." Then, we left. I felt horrible that he might of thought we were polygamists or something. Then, I thought, "Who says stuff like that?" Who says well, mine are all from one wife!
9. "I couldn't do foster care, I could NEVER give them back" Someone just said this to me at a meeting I attended. I know they didn't mean anything wrong by it but, that hurt. Do people think I am the Tin man and don't have a heart? Do they think I believe children are disposable? Do they think I hand children back and leave with no sadness? Do they think I am not haunted by the loss of all of these children that have come through my life? It is definitely NOT easy. It hurts and it is hard. I am normal. I hurt like everyone else. Do you know what it is like to exclusively care for a child for 1 year or more and then they have to leave your home?
8. How do you manage all of their "problems" ? It is hard. they have issues that they didn't create. But, I would like they have "problems" just like the rest of us do. Many of them are from living in a home were parents are still learning their priorities. They didn't create this.
7. I would be too afraid for my children to ever take in a foster child. This is often followed up by "they would introduce them to too many bad things".  You always take a risk exposing your children to things you don't want them to know. I take the risk when they watch tv, play with a friend, go to Disneyland, attend school...the list goes on and on. For the most part, kids are going to expose other kids to the things they have learned. Kids may find out the Easter Bunny or Santa aren't real from other kids too. We take preemptive measures and talk to our kids before they find out from someone else. Our children are prepared for what they may see, hear and experience. They may find out things a little earlier that other children but, that is okay. We constantly ask, "what do you think about that?"
6. You must be angels. I honestly cringe when people say this. The truth is we make a million mistakes every day. (John less than me, of course.) We have more opportunity (more kids) to make more mistakes than the average parent. We are definitely not angels. We yell, we get frustrated, overwhelmed and a myriad of other emotions with our kids. We are however trying to be the best possible people we can be.
5. How can you manage it all? We have a great team. We all contribute. John loves it when we actually coordinate it all on our cell phone calendars. :) That really makes him happy. John has worked overtime lately because I have been gone working. (That will change in 5 weeks). But, we have each others back.
4. Do you know all of your kids names?This one is hilarious to me. I was seriously asked this question on multiple occasions. Do you know YOUR children's names? Really? I may get hung up on the year they were born but yes, I know their names. geesh!
3. It must be easier having older children who can help with the youngers all of the time. My answer? You either don't have older children or you don't have older and younger children. The truth is, my children are incredible. They help so much! But, raising my kids is my responsibility not theirs! They do help a lot when asked but, it isn't always a pleasant encounter. They don't always WANT to help. They are kids after all. many of them, have not had the actual experience of being kids.
2. How can you afford all of those children? This one is very personal to me. The fact is, we have been incredibly blessed! People continue to surprise me with their generosity towards our family. We have lived on one income for almost all of the 23 years we have been married. This has been a great blessing. No kidding, money can be tight sometimes. But, we make due with less. We rarely eat out. Going to a movie is a luxury. We don't (GASP!) have cable tv. We save where we can.
1. What is this group about? (we are just a family) Then, who are your real children? This makes me laugh. People often have an awkward hand gesture that accompanies this question. They often follow this up with the second question. Really? They all look real to me how about you? When they persist, we thank them for the added therapy sessions they have created. They are all of my real children. Yes I have some biological children but, lets not discuss that in front of the kids that can hear you.

Bottom line? Think before you speak. I don't often get offended. Although that guy at Costco...really? My kids have learned to deal with the questions/stares and the disgust that oozes from people who don't agree with the amount of children we have. All in all, people are pretty darn nice. people want to understand they just don't always think how it sounds.
I love what we do. In 5 weeks, I will love being home again permanently. sometimes I wish I could speed up time and be home now. I have learned there is no place I would rather be than home with my family. I will answer the final question (even though I have several times now) Yes, we will probably have more...