Thursday, July 21, 2011

the Pain in My Tooth

As one of my Not So 90 Day Goals (yes, I just said Not So 90 Day Goals, because our group decided that we wanted our goals to end with the summer, so instead of doing a full 90 days we are doing not so many--- "Not So 90 Day Goals") I am keeping a Daily Tender Mercies Journal. I first heard about it in a talk given by President Eyring in the October 2007 General Conference. He shared this experience that has always stuck out to me about a prompting he received.

"I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family... I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done."

I was so impressed with this story. Partly because it was the Dad of the home doing this, not the Mom. I know a lot of Moms who blog, or journal about their kids and their lives. But the idea of a Dad writing down the Tender Mercies he had witnessed for his kids future benefit really touched me.

Hint: To all of you Dads/Husbands out there who read my blog... crickets chirping... (ok, so maybe the only male who reads this is my own Man) if you start now- you would have 9 months of this to give to your Cute Wifie for Mother's Day and she would give you a big kiss and maybe cry and you would win big points at Girl's Night when she brags to her friends about the sweet Journal you made her and you might even get mentioned on my Blog for being that awesome... just an idea.

That brings me to Today's Tender Mercy... which start out as a Pain in my Tooth!
A few months ago Fresh-Out-of-Dental-School-Dentist determined I had a cavity that needed filling. This is my first cavity in well over a decade -almost two! A few days after the filling was done I was in a ton of pain and could no longer eat Peanut Butter M&M's. So I went back in for him to fix it. Which he did. Then a week later I was in pain again. So I went back in for him to fix it. Then a week later I was in pain again. Are you feeling like you have read the same sentence three times? By this point- I am angry. Not only am I unable to eat P.B. M&M's without pain (you will note that I did not give them up- just endured the pain) but I have to keep taking time to go back to the Dentist! Why can my Massage Therapist never mess up? I wouldn't mind going back for a massage every week till she "gets it right". But the Dentist? Every other week? And all he did - besides numb me, shoot me, drill me, and fill me - is give me a lousy Jamba Juice card "for my inconvenience". I wanted to get mad and complain. But the problem is- he is really nice, and young and I am bad at confrontation so I don't knot how to confront him. (Most of you know I have only two settings: Happy/Nice or Very Very Angry/Mean. No in between)

So today I went in. Again. He "fixed" it. Again. And I was mad. Again.

Then tonight, when I sat down to write in my Tender Mercies Journal, I thought of him. (and how I am angry but too scared to go Crazy Very Very Angry Katie on him) I asked myself what had happened today to show me that Heavenly Father loves me, or that I am blessed. And you know what thought came to my mind?

The time I was on my mission in Madagascar and I chipped my tooth drinking out of a glass bottle of Passion Soda (which is my favorite beverage of all time and is making me drool and tear up just thinking about) (by the way- in a 3rd World Country- it is probably best to never drink form the bottle...P.S. who likes my back to back parenthesis? I do.) There I was- in Madagascar with a broken tooth. My companion laughed at the idea of us finding a "dentist" to work on it. So I went to my make up bag, pulled out my nail file and took matters into my own hands. (who knew they would teach my Dentistry in Beauty School?)

So as I sat with my Journal I realized it isn't so bad to have to go back to the Dentist over and over and over again. At least I have Fresh-Out-of-Dental-School-Dentist to go to. It is better than taking matters into my own hands. Thanks Heavenly Father, for helping me to appreciate the Pain in my Tooth.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Parenting Regrets

We started out the day excited to make Strawberry Jam. We headed out in search of the last berries of the season (because that is the way we roll, unlike my mom who got us out early picking our own berries). After what felt like a scavenger hunt for berries we ended up with a flat of giant strawberries and a half flat of beautiful raspberries. I could almost taste the strawberry jam in my Swedish Pancakes and the Raspberry Sauce drizzled over my White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. I could see me and my kids in our aprons hovering over the sink of washed berries. I could see myself pretending not to notice them sneaking berries into their mouths even though Blake's berry smeared cheeks would give it away.

It would be a wonderful day full of laughter, finger licks, and memories...

Until we pulled into our driveway. In the moment it took me to get out of my seat and round the car to scoop up the berries from the passenger seat my visions were shattered.

It was chaos. (ok, maybe not chaos, but I like the dramatic affect of that word) Riley was yelling, Blake was frantic and I was in shock.

"Mom!! Blake spilled the Blackberries!!!" (she meant Raspberries but the guy selling us the strawberries saw them and kept asking if they were blackberries, I used my amazing Spanish to spell out Raspberries for him - I am pretty proud of myself)

As I opened the door I found Blake kneeling on the dividing console between the front seats, up to his elbows in smushed berries. We have asked him before to not climb into the front seat, but Riley had hopped up to check her Lip Gloss in the review mirror (I don't know where she learned that...) and Blake had followed after her. Somehow, I am still not sure, he managed to knock the Half Flat of Raspberries all over the entire front of the car. He was frantically trying to pick them up, but the berries just squished in his pudgy little hands making raspberry juice all over the driver's seat.

I lost it.

The next thing I knew I was shouting. Kids were being hurled into the house to sit on the stairs in Time Out. As I stood surveying the mess that somehow covered the steering wheel, console, both front seats and the carpet on the ground (how could one half flat cover so much??) the anger grew. I saw the $15 dollars I had just spent on the berries, I saw the berry juice oozing, I saw the carpets staining, and felt my blood pressure rising. By now, the kids are all wailing inside the house. I am not sure if they were trying to wake up JT to come to their defense (but after working last night- he was pretty out of it) or to see if I would take pity on their sobs.

I tried to channel my Mother. I pictured her standing over a freshly baked cake that she had spent hours decorating to be an exact replica of the Boy Scout Emblem for my brother's Eagle Scout Court of Honor. She was staring at a broken water balloon that we had thrown over her cake and had somehow come down right on her cake. (why were even throwing water balloons in the house? good question.) That same anger was boiling under her skin.

But she didn't yell. She calmly told us and our friends to get out of the kitchen and go home. Actually I think it was more of a warning.

I pictured her coming home from a day of selling her crafts at a bazaar to a house that we flooded when we filled the tub for an Apple Bobbing Contest at my Halloween Party. And when I say filled the tub, I mean we forgot we were filling the tub and it ran over and all the way down the hall before we remembered. Again, no yelling.

I even picture her finding me, as an adult in beauty school, trying to clean up hot wax I had spilled on her living room carpet, where my sister-in-law and I thought it would be a good place to wax her eyebrows... Again, no yelling.

As these scenarios flashed through my mind I knew there was only one thing I could do. Go back into the house where my little children were sobbing on the stairs in time out- and yell some more!!

What is wrong with me? Why did it feel so good just to yell?! That is not what I saw as a child. Or what I want my kids to remember from "the Great Day we made Strawberry Jam". And yet, I did.

After about an hour the car was clean. To my surprise (and embarrassment) I got most of the raspberries out of the carpet and the little cracks and crevices. The kids were eager to help. Especially Blake.

Looking back at "the Great Day we made Strawberry Jam" I keep thinking of my parenting regrets.

That I yelled (not just raised my voice- but full on yelled) at my small children for an accident.

That I failed at the goal of all children: "to be better than our own parents".

That I missed a chance to snuggle and ask forgiveness from a frightened sad child.

and maybe most of all:

That I did not take a picture.
Because what was tragic, and frustrating, and horrible today-- would make a funny blog post tomorrow.

Monday, July 11, 2011

well, now that's embarrassing

You know the time you read my blog about how I am living my dreams of traveling and helping others who are less fortunate? The one where I was so excited to try to speak Spanish and spend a week in Bolivia?

Oh, what? You don't really read or remember my Blog posts? Oh, well, now that's embarrassing for me also.

So- those of you who DO read this Blog from time to time and were really excited for me and my adventure... we have some bad news.

We are not going after all. It is so hard to go from telling the world that I am excited to do something to turn around and say-- "well, actually...."

But as we prepared for it- something just did not feel right. I worried and prayed and tried to figure it out. I tried to rationalize the feelings and continue as planned. But the more I did that- the sicker I felt. We did not feel true peace about the whole thing until we firmly decided not to go.

We don't really know why. It is frustrating when you get a prompting and never know why. I hope that there is a reason. And I hope that it becomes clear to us. But for now- we will go with our gut and just stay home.

On the happier side-- JT did find out he is #1 on the Wait List for Rochester University. So I guess there is still the chance that someone will drop out and we will be headed off on an adventure to New York... Keep your fingers crossed. :)

(and that would be a really good reason not to go to Bolivia)