Wednesday, August 31, 2011


This may be too much of My Reality for some of you. But truth be told: I have bad days. I mean really bad days sometimes. And it seems that when I have had a string of these bad days (or weeks) where I feel like a failure as a mother, a friend, and even a wife, my mind wanders to one place.


I have never been there. I don't even know much about it, other than what I have seen on TV or heard from friends. But when the going gets rough and I want to get going I picture myself on a plane to Brazil. I am not really sure who this alternative Katie is. She is carefree. She is thoughtless and selfish. She is not thinking of nap times, meal times, out-grown school shoes, or love notes in her hubbie's lunch. She is thinking of the beach. She is listening to the ocean and drinking Brazilian lemonade. She is wearing cut off shorts and a bikini because she doesn't have a saggy post baby body. (this is how we know it is not the Real Me) She is flying First Class because money is no object in her made up world. She is sleeping on the long flight because no one is there to interrupt her sleep.

In my fantasy this is where it ends. I have never actually seen this Katie getting off the plane in the tropical sunshine. I have never heard her blunder through the Portuguese she picked up on the flight down. I have never even seen the fabulous hotel that she will own there (to support her new carefree life). It ends with uninterrupted sleep because that is where it just gets too obvious that it is all a dream.

And honestly, it isn't even a good dream.

A good dream is getting a call from my sweet hubbie in the middle of the day telling me to get ready because he is coming home from the office to send me out. No, he didn't send me to Brazil. He sent me to Southcenter. But an afternoon alone felt like a tropical escape. An afternoon of shopping by myself, eating out quietly, buying "frivolous things" as I was directed by him to do so, forgetting about coupons and sales, and not even considering what the kids would eat, or who has a runny nose, or if the laundry was getting done.

By the time I got home from my Get A Way, my kids missed me. They cheered when I walked in the door. My man was glowing with "yep, I just scored big time and my wifie is smiling again" all over his face. My laundry was done, my house was clean, my kids were going to bed. I guess if I did go to Brazil they might just survive with out me. But I would be lost without them.

The reason my Brazil Dream ends sleeping on the plane is that somewhere over South America I realize how happy I really am here. Right here with a snotty nose rubbing my baggy shirt that hides my baby rolls. Right here with nap times, grumpy times, and snuggle times. Right here with a husband who thinks of me and my needs. A husband that is trying his best everyday to make our family and our marriage the dream come true we thought it would be. A life that is not perfect, or even easy, but it is wonderful and mine.

Who wouldn't want to be waken up from a deep sleep to a life like that?

Monday, August 15, 2011

One of My Many Talents

I thought I would tell you all about one of many talents that also gets me in trouble.

Most Talents aren't Trouble Makers. Those are the talents I don't posses. You know the obvious talents like playing the violin. Singing. (ok, I can carry a tune- but I am not sure it is up there as one of my real talents) Sports. Math. Dancing. Don't get me wrong here, I love to dance. I just don't do it well. (I always thought I did because I went dancing with others who could dance well and I watched them and thought I was doing what they did - yeah, I don't think so.)

First Talent: the ability to see someone else and assume I look the same.

This doesn't just happen when dancing. This is a problem at clothing stores when the cute 19 year old girl helps me pick out jeans and I say I like the ones she has on and assume we are the same size. She is nice enough to pretend I fit into a Size 2 and then grabs my real size "just in case". It is also a problem when I am telling someone I am a Hair Stylist (or at least I was in my past life) and then thinking that my hair looks so good that she will wish I was still doing hair. (when the truth is that my roots are an embarrassment to my trade) My sister has called it our Reverse Anorexia. You know, girls who look in the mirror and see fat when they are skinny? I look in the mirror and see Sexy/Good Dancer/Tall/Brunette/Brazilian - when in all actuality I am none of those things.

Second Talent: the "gift of gab".

I have discovered that is the politically correct way of saying "talks too much".
I have had people instinctively fluff their pillow and turn the other way on an airplane when I have taken my seat. They fake sleep because they can feel that I am a talker. I had a chiropractor laugh uncomfortably at my jokes today because I would not shut up - even while getting my back cracked in two. (p.s. not my regular chiropractor- he has endured years of those corny jokes) I have heard that deep nasal rumble from the other side of the bed right when I am getting to the good part of my story.
Growing up my report cards would have little comments written next to the grades. (this is where my first talent comes in handy- "what, mom, you see a 'c-'? I see an 'A+'!") Inevitably the comment that would follow whatever grade was given would be "Katie is a pleasure to have in class. Talks excessively in class." That's right, I was fun, but man I talked a lot. And this would be written next to every single grade, in every single class, at every single level of my entire academic career!

This brings me to my last real talent. This one gets me in the most trouble of all.

Last Talent: the talent of exaggeration.

What? You didn't know that could be a talent? Then you probably did not know it is hereditary. I got the gift from my mother. (actually my dad is really good at it, but he learned it from my mom) I think everyone in my family has this talent. Some of us don't even know it. I have even heard rules and directions on How to Properly Exaggerate. I think the rule is that whatever you are trying to emphasize needs to be multiplied to the 4th power. (I said that like I even remember what those math terms mean-- I just know you have to make it extreme) For example: Someone who is not talented at exaggerating might say they are "hungry enough to eat a cow". (amateur) A Nelson would say we are "hungry enough to eat two bison" (because all of you Math Geeks know that two bison are a cow to the 4th power). You can't say that you could "eat a cow" because that does seem doable. I have been pretty hungry. And I am capable of eating a lot. So the only way to exaggerate is to make it so extreme there is no room for confusion. Maybe one of you would see an attractive person. You would probably describe him as "good looking" but if exaggeration was your talent it would sound more like "that was the best looking person I have ever witnessed in the flesh".

Don't be jealous of my talents. I am sure you are all good at something...
And besides, this is about how my Talents get me in Trouble.

Take this incident with my back. How does someone with a talent for exaggeration handle all of this?

First off- when I tell my husband of the piercing pain I feel in my back. Do I say "it hurts"? Of course not, I have to equate it to giving birth to Quadruplets with spiky heads. When I get to the Chiropractor and they give me a questionnaire to "rate my pain" I think it is an 8 out of 10, but that won't do, what I need is a 16 out of 10! But I don't want him to think I am being a baby- so do I go the other way? And rate it -3 out of 10?
Then when I get home in my excruciating pain (oh yeah, I was on major pain meds when I got home and the pain was practically non-existent- there I go again- An Exaggeration Within an Exaggeration! the pain has never been "non-existent" that is my way of saying "less painful than before") which to the 4th degree means "excruciating". I decide to mention casually in my Blog that my "back is broken". (because a hurt S.I. joint and a Bulging Disc are actually equivalent to paralysis if you have my talent)

This is when the trouble starts. Emails, Texts, Phone Calls, Singing Telegrams (ok, for those of you who have not figured this out- the telegrams is an exaggeration) all come flooding in with concerns on how I broke my back!

How do I respond to all of this?
Is the pain a 16 out of 10 or -3? Am I on my death bed, or ready to go play tennis? (as if I know how to play tennis) Do I need dinners or can I just whip up Thanksgiving on my own tonight?

Do I even know how to give a straight answer?

So- to apologize for the confusion and to brag about my amazing talents and to help you understand future posts- remember this simple rule: EVERYTHING x FOUR.

Friday, August 12, 2011

You get what you deserve...

I just finished reading a talk in the General Conference Ensign. (apparently when your back is hurt and your family is out on fun walks without you - you have more time to read articles entitled "As Many as I love, I Rebuke and Chasten"....) I remember this talk from General Conference, but it really hit me today.

Maybe because recently I have found myself thinking this thought "they will get what they deserve" or "what goes around comes around" or whatever horribly judgemental thing we tell ourselves when we see someone "get away with" something that we perceive as wrong. Is there some cruel human part of me that hopes that others who do things that seem mean, hurtful, dishonest, or evil will get some type of "pay back" for those actions? And is that what I think is on God's agenda? As if He does not have better things to do than go after the people who are hurting others and punish them. Does He?

After reading this article I realized He definitely does. Going after the rest of us.

I love the example He gives of the followers of Alma who "established a Zion community in Helam but then were brought into bondage. They did not deserve their suffering - quite the contrary - but the record says:
"Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten His people: yea, He trieth their patience and their faith.
Nevertheless - whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was was with this people." (Mosiah 23:21-22

(P.S. My spell check is loving all of these putteth and trieth and other fun words!)

Here it is. The answer to my most difficult questions right in front of me. "why me?"
Why when JT is working so hard is he not accepted? Why have I watched us move up on wait list only to be denied? Why do I hear his colleagues saying in shock that they wrote him good letters of recommendations, that he is the top choice and even they are not being heard? Why - when we are doing all that we should do - why are we not being blessed?

But in reading this article I realize that God is not out looking for those who "deserve" it so that He can "let them have it". He is looking for those who "deserve" it, and chastening us. So that when I am ready, he can "let me have it". All of it.

The other story Elder Christofferson shared was about President Hugh B. Nibley. (It is just too good to paraphrase)

"He told of purchasing a rundown farm in Canada many years ago. As he went about cleaning up and repairing his property, he came across a currant bush that had grown over six feet (1.8 m) high and was yielding no berries, so he pruned it back drastically, leaving only small stumps. Then he saw a drop like a tear on the top of each of these little stumps, as if the currant bush were crying, and thought he heard it say:

“How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. … And now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me. … How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”

President Brown replied, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and someday, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’”

Years later, President Brown was a field officer in the Canadian Army serving in England. When a superior officer became a battle casualty, President Brown was in line to be promoted to general, and he was summoned to London. But even though he was fully qualified for the promotion, it was denied him because he was a Mormon. The commanding general said in essence, “You deserve the appointment, but I cannot give it to you.” What President Brown had spent 10 years hoping, praying, and preparing for slipped through his fingers in that moment because of blatant discrimination. Continuing his story, President Brown remembered:

“I got on the train and started back … with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. … When I got to my tent, … I threw my cap on the cot. I clenched my fists, and I shook them at heaven. I said, ‘How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?’ I was as bitter as gall.

“And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, ‘I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.’ The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness. …

“… And now, almost 50 years later, I look up to [God] and say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.’”5

I remember hearing this for the first time in April and wanting to cry for the sad little tree.

I love picturing President Nibley shaking his fists at Heaven. Maybe because it is something I think I have done in the last two years. I have asked Why we have been led down this path, why we have completely changed careers and direction? Why someone so qualified as JT can be overlooked? President Nibley knew it was because the Gardener had a better plan in store. I am not sure at what point it all became clear to him. I look forward to that moment when we can look back and say "ah, that is why it happened this way"

For now, I am able to see that Heavenly Father does give us what we deserve. Not because "what goes around, come around" but because I deserve the chance to be pruned back so that I can grow. I deserve the miracle that the people of Alma felt when their burdens were lifted and they were finally delivered. I deserve the opportunity to put my faith in Him and let it be tested. JT deserves an opportunity to prove himself and his capabilities. He deserves the chance to fight for something he wants and loves and not give up when it doesn't go the way he planned.

We are being blessed. Not in the ways we expected. But we do get what we deserve - or at least what Heavenly Father knows we need.