Sunday, July 8, 2012

I attended a funeral yesterday and I have some feelings I need to express and get out of my head.

I am completely uncomfortable with open caskets.  I cringe when I hear the words, "Doesn't she look beautiful?"; "Doesn't he look good?"  NO...they DON'T!  At least not to me.  I have been to a lot of funerals and not once have I felt inclined to make such a comment.  The spirit has left the body.  It's just a shell now.  Why do people need to look at it?  I don't understand it.  People say they need closure.  I don't need to see a dead body to feel closure.  I realize this is just my own preference and opinion, that's why I get to blog about how I feel about it.

When our first-born baby died, we did not have a funeral; just a graveside service for family.  I did not want an open casket.  This was MY baby.  Yes I felt possessive.  I did not want anyone looking at him.  Besides, it wasn't him.  Know what I mean?  It did NOT look like him, plus he had been pumped with so many fluids in the hospital, that he was bloated and he looked nothing like himself; then you add to that, the fact that the spirit had left his body, which as mentioned above, leaves only a shell.  I wanted family to remember him as he was when alive and well.  I had instructed the mortician, where his body lay awaiting burial, to not allow anyone to see him.  I didn't even want grandparents to see him, but now that I AM one, I can understand their need, I guess.  But there were several acquaintances who were well-meaning, stop by the funeral home to view our baby.  Why? 

Why are there viewings prior to the funeral?  Is it to satisfy a person's curiosity?  I do understand paying respect by offering a piece of our heart to the family members left behind, but I don't like  hearing the chatter that follows, of how the person looked, especially when it's unfavorable.  What purpose does that serve?  I don't mean to be heartless, I just don't understand or like it. 

I do love to hear about a person's life.  Many times I find out more about a person at their funeral, than I knew while they were alive.  In the case of this most recent funeral I attended, I only knew this person during her years of struggle and bad times.  It was refreshing to hear about her earlier years and the good that she did during her life and the successes she enjoyed.  I love hearing all the anecdotes and talents that I hadn't known about.  I love the honor and respect shown to the one who has passed from this life. 

While I don't feel comfortable with over-glorifying a person just because they're dead, I do think it's a wonderful thing to honor and respect them as a child of God.  He loves them, and will welcome all His children home.

Funerals remind me to tell and show my loved ones often, how I feel about them.  Don't let an opportunity pass by to give someone a compliment (an honest one that you think inside, but don't usually open your mouth to say outloud); don't hold back the hugs and other expressions of love and friendship.  I'm getting better at doing this so that I have no regrets.  I imagine how the person who has died, who may be listening to their funeral service, may feel as he/she listens to all the nice things said about them, and wonder why those things were never said to them while alive.  Sad!

Sometimes I feel anxious inside following a funeral.  I think of all the things I don't want to leave un-done.  It makes me frantic.  This can be a good thing because it snaps me out of my trance that I sometimes fall into in life, and take action; get moving.

Funerals can be so uplifting too.  It's such a comfort to know that there is life beyond this one.  Love of a Heavenly Father can be felt so strongly.

Last of all, it causes me to think of what might be said about me when I die.  Not that I want that kind of attention, or have anything said at all.  But what kind of legacy will I leave behind?  As we've recently experienced many fires in surrounding areas, and have asked ourselves what would we grab if our own neighborhood was ever threathened and evacuation was necessary, I've also been thinking about what will I leave behind when I die?  To leave a home at a moment's notice, we realize we only care about precious pictures and special mementos, while all our worldy possessions don't matter anymore.  When I die, I don't care to be remembered for inconsequential things; I hope to be remembered for being a good Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Daughter, Sister, Friend.  I hope what shines brightest, is my love for my Father in Heaven and my Savior.  There should be no question of where I stand on religion and I hope to live up to my beliefs and be remembered for that.

I KNOW That My Redeemer Lives.  There is a plan beyond this life; a grand eternal plan.  I'm not anxious to hurry to the great beyond just yet, but I'm sure happy to know where I'm going.

Friday, June 29, 2012

You matter

Sometimes I think my life is too boring to write about, so I've let a lot of time pass without posting.  I won't try to play catch-up at this point, but will just pick up and move on from here. 

This past Sunday I attended missionary farewells for three young men.  I was touched by each one of their talks and I was moved to tears more than once.  Not too long ago these young men were little boys, playing with my son, and now they're all grown up, talking about and teaching things that we as parents, teachers, and leaders, have tried to instill in them over the years.  Now they dish it back out, and I re-learn. 

Several great principles were talked about that day, but the one that has hit home with me the most is a message shared by my son's best friend.  He was on the high school football team and he talked about how everyone focuses on, and cheers for the one who makes the touchdown.  Have you noticed how many players are out on the field?  They each have a job to do, and yet the only one really noticed is the one attempting to make the touchdown.  If the others don't do their job, the touchdown won't happen.  The other players really don't get much recognition, and yet they shouldn't expect to; they just need to go out there and do their job as best they can. 

He likened this to whatever we do in our lives.  We can't all be in the spotlight, nor should we be.  There is no job more important than another.  Whatever we do, we need to put forth our best effort.

I am happy to be in the background, not noticed, and yet that does not give me the excuse to be a slacker.  I still have a job to do, and it makes a difference.  However I choose to fulfill my role, does affect others.

I watched a movie tonight that I've seen many times; The Help.  I love it, and it always gives me so much to think about, and I love the line that Abeleine says to May Mobley; "You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important."

Those are my thoughts for tonight.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Wow, I haven't posted anything for so long that I almost forgot how to log in.
I went to Zumba tonight and had such a rush, which I tend to get every time I go. But tonight was one of those nights when I just wanted to stay home. I had been at work all day, felt rushed through dinner, ran to the church for a nutrition/cooking class (which was very good), and then rushed off to Zumba. It has been cold all day and we even had snow. I was dreaming of curling up with a good book and having a cup of hot chocolate, but off to Zumba I went.
As the hour progressed, my energy picked up, and certain songs just make me smile. Some songs even give me chills and bring tears to my eyes. Is that weird or what? I just LOVE it! Music is so powerful.
At one point a woman who had been behind me was clearly out of breath and had stopped dancing and I said something to her about how fun this is and she said she used to dance all the time, and WANTS to, but feels like her body just can't do it anymore. She feels so out of shape and wants to cry. She wonders if she should quit. But she told me that she's been watching me since her first day and that she's able to copy me and feel more confident. WOW! She just expressed all the feelings I had when I started back in April. I felt like such a clutz and wanted to cry, but told myself to give it a month. I didn't think I'd EVER catch on. But there was one person who I kept my eyes glued on and she helped me learn and she encouraged me. She also told me that the day would come when someone ELSE would be watching ME! I didn't believe her, but she was right.
After the woman told me she watches me, it made me work harder and concentrate even more. I'm not that great, but I DO love the music, the energy in the room, the fact that my body CAN move, and the RUSH always comes.
I'm finding that being in the stage of life I'm at right now, makes me notice and appreciate so many little things that make me happy.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lost.....and Found!

Most times when I am given a church responsibility that will be ongoing for a certain length of time, I feel fearful at first, doubtful, inadequate, and wonder how in the world I will be able to accomplish what's been asked of me. I immediately turn to prayer, take a deep breath, and DIG IN!
Over time I figure out what I'm doing, relationships develop, love for those I serve deepens, experiences are etched in my mind forever, my life is changed; and then... BAM...I'm released from that responsibility, and I am LOST!
For the past 3 years I have been serving in a capacity that oversees the welfare of about 150 women, which extends to their families as well. This entails Sunday and weekday meetings, lessons, classes, funerals, caring for the sick and the grieving, serving in many capacities. I have been on a constant run.
But this isn't about me. It's about what I've seen in others. I have seen, from a different vantage point, the service and love that is freely and willingly given by others. I am amazed, impressed with, and in awe of the many women I have served WITH. Whenever there was a need, whatever was asked, was given without hesitation. Most times the asking never had to happen. Things were being done just because a need was known, and out of love and kindness, the need was met.
I have been made aware of the fact that EVERYONE has challenges; some being extremely difficult, but we all have them. I have prayed for, cried for, and loved these strong women who go through the battle of life with determination and faith. I love these women.
I am grateful for the many opportunities over the years, with various responsibilities, that have made me stretch and grow in ways I never thought possible. I am grateful to a Father in Heaven, who has answered my prayers every single time in order to accomplish what I needed to. He has carried me through.
Upon my release from this latest assignment, I expected to feel relief. I expected it to be a cause for celebration, for relaxation, for a chance to catch my breath. It was not. I felt lost. I felt sad. I keep looking at my phone, thinking there's a problem with it because it has ceased to ring. I feel needed no more.
I tried shifting my focus to all the things I've been wanting to do, that I could now do with my free time. Friends and family have been telling me I need a break. I thought I would too, but when that day came last week, I quickly realized I don't WANT a break. When I serve others, and serve God, that's when I am the happiest. Stretching and growing and learning new things makes me a better person.
I continued to feel lost. What was I to do now? Where do I fit in? Will I go back to being my shy self who sits in a back corner all alone, feeling useless?
THEN, I got a call. As of tomorrow I get a new assignment. I get to teach the 3 year old children on Sundays. I have not stopped smiling. Those children are the sweetest, most pure and precious little people that I now get to associate with. How lucky am I? I have found a new focus.
Lost? Never!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


My next-to-the-youngest son is graduating from high school next week. I believe this is cause to celebrate, but he scoffs and wonders what the big deal is. He doesn't think he has accomplished much in his life. He hasn't received any awards, he didn't become the athlete he always hoped to be, he hasn't been recognized for anything extraodinary, he's not considered a popular kid, he just feels average.
Let me tell you about this "average" kid. He is a natural-born leader. He does not demand this title, yet others seem to gravitate towards him, and follow him. He is someone who does what he wants without concern for what others may think. As a young boy, he would wear striped pants with a plaid shirt, or play T-ball with bright orange shorts and his cowboy boots. He never was one to buy brand name clothing, but would rather see how far his money would stretch. It has never bothered him to dress or act differently than others. He's happy being himself. He is a person of integrity.
This kid has always made me and anyone around him, happy. He has a cheerful disposition ALL the time. He has a sense of humor and can always make people laugh.
He has not achieved scholoastic, athletic, or other honorary awards, but he is a winner. He knows when to step back and glory in the success of others. He is fiercely loyal and supportive of his friends and peers. He attends events in which he'd rather be a participant, but is a spectator, yet he cheers the loudest, exuding genuine happiness in the success of others.
He is one of the bravest people I know. He tried out for, and earned a spot in competing in "Mr. Springville" at the high school. It was a tough competition, broken down into multiple mini competitions. For the talent portion, there were some boys who sang or danced, always with either a group of other friends participating with them, or with music blaring as their background (or cover-up??); skits, where again, friends joined them in the presentation. My son is the ONLY one who opened himself up to a raw display of comedy. There were no flashing lights, no background music, no group of friends performing with him, just him, all alone on that stage, with the student body and parents staring at him, critiquing him. He would either fall flat on his face and get no laughs, or he'd "nail" it. Guess what? He NAILED it! He was scared to death, but he had everyone laughing and applauding enthusiastically. That experience gave him one of the biggest boosts of his life, but he had to take the gamble and jump into the cold water, head first. He didn't drown, but rose above the surface a better person, having more confidence in himself than ever before. I'm so proud of him.
My son is self-motivated, responsible, and honest. I have never once had to drag him out of bed to get to school or work. I've never had to nag him about his homework, or remind him about his work schedule. He always says to me "Mom...I've got it covered", and he does. He never calls into work "sick", but fulfills his responsibility without complaint. His boss knows he can depend on him and has never been disappointed in him. He's not a "flaky" teenager. He is trustworthy and does what he says he will do. He doesn't look for a "cheat" or a shortcut.
My son went to the extra effort of achieving his Eagle Scout award. He doesn't give himself enough credit for this, but it's a big deal I think.
So while others are receiving their awards and medals of honor, scholarships and recognition, (which are all wonderful), I'll take my "average" son any day. He's an exceptional person, a boy growing into a mature young man, who will contribute to society in HIS way. I am so proud of him and love him with all my heart, and I feel this world is a better place because of him.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day...don't need the "stuff"

The calendar says this one day a year is supposed to be something special for mothers. I don't like a date on the calendar to dictate what should happen on that day. It sets everyone up for disappointment when expectations aren't met. I tell myself I have no expectations, but then the day arrives and I find that I secretly DO.

I'm not talking about gifts. I honestly don't want "the stuff". I don't need tangible gifts. I don't want my husband or children sweating over what to get me; worrying about not having the funds to purchase something; stressing over what to do for Mom. When the kids were little, teachers at church and/or school would have them draw a picture, or fill out a slip of paper redeemable for a hug, or a voucher good for making their bed (or mine); things of that nature. Now that they're older, they think those gifts were dumb. Actually, those are the gifts I loved the very most. I don't need "the stuff!!!"

This is a day when mothers sometimes feel guilty and depressed because we don't fit the mold of the perfect mother. We want to hide out and wait for Monday so we can get back to reality.

If I could have my perfect day, it would be to stay home and put my feet up, read a good book, have my children at my beck and call, adoring me; have dinner prepared for me; have the kitchen cleaned up afterwards til it shined; receive heartfelt letters of love and appreciation from each child, along with a hug; take a nap; and just do nothing.

Every once in a while I throw myself a little pity-party, feeling overworked and under-paid, wondering if what I do is even noticed, let alone appreciated. But that party is short-lived and now I ask myself; do I really want what I described as my perfect day? No...I really don't! I want to go to church, I want to be busy and interact with my family and others. I want to be out there living my life. I love my children and would do anything for them. I love the mundane things I do around the house that may go unnoticed by my family, but it brings me joy to serve my family in this way. If I were to resign myself to a recliner, I would die inside. I just can't do it, although it does sound nice for a day. :)

So...I'm good! I'm happy. I have a good life. I LOVE being a mother. It's my greatest blessing. So on this Mother's Day, instead of celebrating ME, I'm celebrating my children. I really don't need "the stuff" (although I certainly wouldn't turn down a meal prepared by hands other than mine).

This is also a day to celebrate my own mother of course. She really is the best Mom I could ever ask for. She gives me unconditional love and she's ALWAYS there for me; ALWAYS!!! In just the simplest ways, she makes me feel like a million bucks. When I call her on the phone, her voice escalates in excitement that it's me. Any time we spend together is the highlight of her day. She makes me feel so special. I love her so much. I hope I can convey to my own children, what my mother taught me, and that's how to love.

Happy Mother's Day to all of us.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ER experience

We had a scare last week. My husband woke up in the middle of the night with an exploding pain in his chest. During the next several hours he had constant pain in his neck, and occasional pains in his chest. He did not wake me up because I had not been sleeping well for weeks, but that particular night I was finally sleeping and he didn't want to interrupt my much needed sleep (foolish man). He headed to work (still without waking me) but then found himself turning into the parking lot of our Dr.'s office (smart man). Of course they sent him directly to the ER. Again, he still hadn't called me (foolish).

During his drive there (he drove himself...ALONE...foolish again) he started getting scared, wondering if he'd even make it. He checked himself into the ER at Payson hospital where he received excellent care for the duration of his stay there that day/night.

He called me (finally) and I was completely calm on the phone. I even took time to shower and grab some things before heading out. I worried about my commitments at work, having heavy responsibilities during tax season, and commitments with my church job. But my place was with my husband, so I just had to "bail out" of everything else.

After joining my husband at the hospital, I sat with him all through the day, watching him go through test after test, and then waiting for the results. I remained calm. I even read a little while he dozed. It was almost a relaxing experience to have permission to just sit. Then results from one test came back abnormal, which caused the cardiologist to schedule a cath test, inserting a catheter through the groin to the heart. My husband was wisked away without much notice. He had received a phone call and was ending the call, handing me the phone, and then he was gone. That's when my calmness disappeared. I felt my hands start shaking, and tears forming, worry building, restless legs that had to move, dread, fear, you name it. I have been through some difficult experiences before, which have taught me that things don't always turn out "OK". I hadn't even had a chance to say goodbye, or say "I Love You".

Luckily my waiting time was much shorter than I expected. My husband's heart and arteries are perfectly fine, totally clear. What a relief. I was SO happy to see my husband again. (Although I admit to briefly thinking of the unfairness of it all that he eats hot dogs and hamburgers and pizza all the time, and does NOT exercise, and his heart and arteries are in perfect condition.) While the problem is not his heart, there IS a problem somewhere, and we'll have to follow up on that with our regular Dr.

While he was sleeping off his anesthesia, I pondered what had happened and the range of emotions I had felt. I thought of all the things in life that keep me busy, occupying my time and my thoughts. And yet I realized what is most precious and important to me; my husband and family. This is not a new revelation. I have had many experiences that have pointed me back to my family. What bothers me, is why I can't seem to let other things go. I keep telling myself that I've learned my lesson and that I need a better balance in my life; that I need to keep my priorities straight (family first), and I'll do it for a day, maybe two, and then I let the other things take over again. Then I feel guilty, like I'm a bad wife or mother because I can't seem to put them first as often as I should. Why do I feel such a drive to do well at work and at my church responsibilities, and whatever else I'm asked to do? Am I being a good example to my family or will it be something they, and I, regret? I don't know.

I DO know this. I...LOVE...MY...HUSBAND! That's a truth that can never be questioned.