August 26, 2014

Energy and Order.

Today my breakfast is 100% homegrown.
I love garden everything eggs.
I also love fresh flowers from my landscaping.
And, I love little girls who play school all day long!

I called one of my healthy friends at the beginning of the summer.  I was exhausted and needed something.
After my major surgery and a year of intense drugs- I am SO sick of medication.  I was taking nothing- not one pill or supplement.  I knew I needed some vitamins to fill me back up.

She recommended this stuff-- Fatigued to Fantastic, Energy Revitalization System.  (I got mine from Amazon for less than $30.)

I trusted it, mostly because I trust her.
I think it is just an easy, citrus flavored way to drink vitamins.
It's doesn't use stimulants.
It was created by a dr who was trying to help fibromyalgia.
It reminds me of Tang.
I love it- the taste is ok and I can feel it working.

This summer, I have felt amazingly energetic.
I try to eat healthy, but that is not always possible.
On my busiest days, I've been so grateful for my vitamin drink.

Today I am sorting clothes and the kids are each writing a list of things they need for school clothes.  
We have a huge box of clothes and shoes to donate to kids who could use them.

Operation- closet and drawers of order is in full swing.
My big kids have already finished their lists-
I Have-- I Need
I love that my kids are very practical.
They don't ask for much.
Honestly, they don't need much.

I'll never forget the time I went through Leah's armoir.  It was stuffed with clothes, mostly hand me downs from her sisters.  I removed everything and left only a handful of outfits (a shirt matched right on top of a pair of shorts).  She looked in her closet and proclaimed happily, "Thank You Mom!! This is so much easier to THINK about."

Too much is harder to deal with than not enough.

The kids are all swimming, the baby is sleeping, I'm finished with my everything eggs, I'm Fatigued to Fabulous energized, and I'm off to create drawers of order.  (I think I will order any new clothes we need online tonight.)
So excited!

Have a great day!!

August 25, 2014


Just getting back in the swing after being gone for a week.
School starts for us next week-- so this is a uber-organizing week.
I'm all over this.  

When all the toys migrate upstairs, so my toy shelf looks like this--
I'm SO ready to organize.
Toys in the basement-- books in the bedroom.
Just a few little things in the family room for Ben.
(Messy toy shelves drive me a bit batty.)
Cute boy.  
(He missed me.  He holds me tight and just, this morning, said the cutest "Mmmama, mmmmumum.  Ma!"  
I melted.)
I made some quick laundry signs and had the kids strip their beds, empty used towels from the bathroom, and sort all their dirty clothes.
They had fun sorting darks, lights, and whites.
Just making silly signs made my job so much easier.  
I love a happy working family!

Happy Monday!
If you need me- I'll be home!
It's SO good to be home.

August 23, 2014


This is me, trying to take a picture of an overhead quote.  Haha.  Dork.

I am saturated with goodness and it feels so good.

Yesterday, I spent the day with my cute cousin Tami.
I bumped into so many old friends it was so fun.

I should have taken some iPhone pictures of our little ice cream social last night.  I just loved it.  The ladies there felt like sisters.  Women have such a great ability to love and lift one another.  All of the women there were Mormon mothers.  Our lives are all different.  Not one of us have escaped refining trials.  And oh the depth of wisdom that was there in that sweet home.  Not a repressed woman in the bunch.  I really like women.

(Thanks again Christina for hosting- you're a sweetie.)

I keep trying to share things I'm learning so you can all feel what I'm feeling.  The truth is, you don't really "learn" much, you just remember things you already know are true.
The friction of a committed relationship exalts both.

Trust building precedes problem solving.
A quiet answer turneth away wrath.

It's better to parent the kid we have and not the kid we want to have.

It isn't about raising your voice, yelling, drama, but it is about authority and conviction.

I went to one class called- "the husband whisperer".  I loved it-- because I know this.  I have learned to be a child whisperer.  When I'm getting upset, I go down not up.  I need to be better at doing this with my best husband.

What does God's voice sound like?
Helaman 5:29,30,31
It was a still voice of perfect mildness as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce to the very soul.
The Earth shook...

As our nature becomes like his, we will whisper more often.

What whispering is not--
Weak, wimpy, subservient, self demeaning, self loathing, doormat-ish

1- warm, firm voice
2- physical contact
3- eye contact

When the yelling starts-- WALK AWAY.
Yelling is assaultive to the soul.  
It's harmful to us.
It demeans us and tares us apart.

::"If you need to say this, say it again, just softer."  To teenagers!!!

Anger- always 2nd emotion
Fear or Pain- primary emotion
When you did that you really hurt me- lower your voice, look in the eye, whisper-- I'm afraid, I'm hurt, I need you to do something different

No misfortune is so bad that whining about it makes it worse.

::notice the negative, accentuate the positive!!!

I loved, loved this long quote from CS Lewis, "Living in an Atomic Age".  I think it relates to most of our worries--

"In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. "How are we to live in an atomic age?" I am tempted to reply: "Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents."

"In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors - anaesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty."

"This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things - praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts - not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds."

To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.
David O McKay

Balance is not found in a day-- balance is found in months!!!

Oh-- I love listening to inspiring people.
I'm ready to soak up good things.

August 21, 2014

Lesson I learned at #byueducationweek

(My very first house as Jenifer Moss.)

BYU is my beloved alma mater.
In 1995, I took my first airplane trip (alone) out to college.  My whole life was ahead of me and I knew my decision to attend BYU would set the course for my future.

On my first day of classes, I took my backpack overflowing with every text book it had purchased for the classes I had that day. Ha!  

I remember clearly my walk back from my first religion class at the JST.  I was surrounded by majestic mountains and a stunning blue sky painted with the fluffiest white clouds I had ever seen.  I was so overcome with gratitude for this experience that tears dripped down my cheeks and my soul sang a prayer to Heaven.

I felt this same gratitude yesterday.

Tears just dripped down my cheeks as I walked.  I wondered-- when does this end?  When will I be able to pass a lady using a walker and stop swelling with gratitude that I can walk?  

Will every single experience in my life be that much more poignant to me because in the back of my mind I know "I could have missed this"?

Will I always choke with emotion when I'm reunited with old friends?  Will I always hug just a little but tighter as I say the deep words "It's soo good to see you again."

I'm a grateful mess, I tell you.

Day One and I'm feeling filled.
I have been reminded of so many gems.

The one lesson I learn over and over is this-- 
Love More.  Love Deeply.  Be Kind.  Keep Trying.  Serve Others.  Forgive.  Feel God's Love for Them and Me.  Build a Home that is a Sanctuary From the World.
Life Is A Gift.
Family Is A Gift.

I love this poem--

I Walked a Mile with Pleasure

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.

-Robert Browning Hamilton

::if you can't change the children or your attitude-- just play music that can!!

::use music to pull you out of your ruts!!

The man who forgets to be grateful has fallen asleep in life.

::stop fighting contention and start nurturing love

Luke 14:28-30

"Character can not be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

Helen Keller

I am so grateful for this time to learn and bask in light, truth, and goodness.

God is good to us.

How I love being alive!!!

I know this is sappy- I am just seeping with sap these days.  Ha!

***if you are in the Utah area and want to come to ice cream-- please join us tonight at 8:30pm at my friend Christina's house--1283 Camelot drive in Provo.   1283 is the west coordinate and camelot is about 810 north.

Please don't feel awkward coming-- I have never even met Christina and she is kind enough to host this get together!  I'm so excited to meet her.  Come!! I'm sure it will be fun and sisterly.

(My best friend and phone cleaning companion- we became mothers and friends at this very apartment complex.)

August 20, 2014

Time Away.

I can not remember the last time I travelled alone.

I'm so used to herding, cajoling, encouraging, counting, holding, or calling for children that walking down a corridor alone feels negligent.

I count other people's children for them.

The absolute feeling of freedom that comes from being able to potty, wash your hands, and exit a restroom without pulling curious children from under someone else's stall is invigorating.

I am only gone for a few days.
My ticket was free from the many frequent-flier miles my hubster has earned this year.
I'm meeting friends, staying with family, and generally too much of a people person to not spend the whole flight talking to the kind people around me.  And even still, I feel the peace and healing that comes when one has time to listen to the thoughts that spin inside our heads.

Take time to touch them more.  Touch daily.  Let them physically feel your love for them.

I felt this reminder as I saw an older son hug his mother tightly at passenger pick-up.  He hugged onto her tight and long while kissing her on the cheek- twice.  I could feel their love.  I want my kids to feel that love.

::hug longer

I think it's normal to have some social phobia.  I actually get all nervous talking on the phone or texting old friends to arrange "long-time-no-see" get togethers.  I pick up on awkward silences and feel like an imposition.  

One of my closest friends taught me this wise advice-- it has never let me down.

::Act as if everyone you wish was your friend already is your friend.

Almost every time I'm texting someone to arrange a get-together, my mind starts racing with feelings that I'm a big inconvenience to them.  I stop those thoughts.  I remind myself that we ARE friends and that I love them and they love me.  I push aside my insecurity and let my heart love.  It's a conscious choice.

Can I tell you how beautiful it is to let yourself love people?  
Life is designed for loving relationships.

Today I met up with old friends that I love like sisters.  I met new friends that I love like brothers.  I spent too long laughing and sharing parenting stories with my husband's cousins who are as dear to me as my own.  

One friendly plane neighbor (Hi Jimmy!) told me that if he had met me when we were both younger and unattached, I might have been able to convert him to Mormonism and convince him to have eight kids.  Ha!  What a compliment!

I really love people.
I'm so, so grateful for some time apart, in the mountains, to listen and to pray.
I love this beautiful world we live in.

I absolutely believe that we are all brothers and sisters.
If you're at BYU this week, look for me and say HELLO.  
We're friends!

Life is good.

August 18, 2014

The day before "vacation"

This is me
This is my garden
These are my girls playing as I type this blog (they just finished swimming)
Today I...
-took seven kids to four orthodontist appointments
-went grocery shopping
-tried to get a copy of current physicals from our pediatrician 
-found out it takes a WEEK to get a copy of physicals from a dr
-learned that without physicals my boys can't start school soccer today and won't be able to play in their first game
-argued with Todd and the coach about the fact that I have physicals scheduled for next week and felt that last years physicals (from September- less than one year ago) should still be valid until next week
-got a (well-deserved but still utterly devastating and expensive) ticket for talking on the phone in a work zone.  Ugh.
-stopped by the library for a school required summer reading book
-stopped by the local Ag store for molasses cow feed
-stopped at the nurse's office to pick up an OK to play form (yay! They're letting my kids play and have their physicals next week.)
-made lunch
-had a PT appointment for Ben
-scraped my van mirror off backing up in my driveway-- darn branch Todd's going to be thrilled-- a ticket and broken mirror all in one day.  Oh my.  

Todd called while I was typing this blog so I told him about the broken van mirror- my 2nd blunder of the day.  He laughed at me after asking "Seriously?" ten times.  He reminded me this is the SECOND car mirror I've broken off.  He said we need to hurry up and get me on that airplane and encouraged me not to drive for the rest of the day.  Haha.  I love him.

Ben's Physical Therapist is a sweet, young mother.  She said, "After I came here the last couple of times I went home and told my husband how amazing your house is.  I have two kids and someone is always fighting or crying and my house is a mess, you have eight and your house is immaculate and your kids are so calm and well-behaved.  They even answer the phone so respectfully."

Haha.  What a sweetie.  My house is NOT immaculate.  She is absolutely seeing only a tiny snap shot of my life (we obviously straighten up and threaten the children to behave properly while she's here).  But, it's nice to see my crazy life through someone else's eyes every now and then.

Can I tell you something?
I just know we have a Father in Heaven who blesses us profusely.

Weeks ago I prayed for a little time away to be taught, to be quiet, and to get ready for a new year.  This trip I'm about to take is an absolute, miraculous gift.
I almost forget that sometimes in the day to day stress of getting things ready to go.

I sometimes forget how absolutely blessed I am to have the beautiful, large family I have.  I forget how lucky I am to be perfectly in love and married to my best friend.  I forget that to be able to work and to serve is a gift.
This is the life that I created.  I love it.

Today, once again, I remember and I am grateful.
Life is good!
(Ben likes peanut butter and has his mother's eyes.)

August 05, 2014

A Happy Family

We are visiting the beach with all of Todd's siblings- 11 adults (Todd is still at a conference) and 28 kids.  We have two separate houses.

I could gush for hours about this trip, but I am going to turn off my phone and savor my morning hours.

I wanted to say one thing.
Good, close families are beautiful.
How I love my brothers and sisters in-law.  I feel safe here with them.

We drove yesterday to one beautiful, local attraction.  I was sandwiched in the middle of the caravan with a van full of kids.  As I followed, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of safety, love, and peace.  My brother in laws take good care of me.  My sister in laws are good, good people. I love them.  

Family is the best.
These are good parents who are all trying to raise good children.
We love each other, we help each other, we laugh together, we cherish quirks, we parent differently and similarly.  It is so fun to be together.
In this there is safety and peace.

Being with family (and being at the beach) makes me want to be with my own family more.
I hope all of you have fond memories of being with family in your childhood.
I am a friend person-- I love people easily.  But, there is just something special about family.
Oh, I'm so grateful to be alive, to be at the beach, and to be with FAMILY.
This is good.

August 01, 2014

Ellie is Eleven

This girl!!
Oh sweet Ellie, how I love you.

I wish every one of you could know this child.
Ellie is bright, shining and sharp.
She is social and very aware of social nuances.

Ellie is a great fashionista.  Her nails are always painted with funky designs and evidence of her kind heart shows through on the nails of all who live in or visit our home.  

Ellie is creative.  She is always making something.  

She's funny and feisty and inspiring.

Honestly- Ellie is so much like me.  She has had to learn to control her emotional soul.  She loves easily.  She is so much fun to be around.  

Ellie writes me notes all the time.
Ellie helps me pick out accessories.
Ellie feels the Spirit.
Ellie is quick to pitch in when I need a hand.
Ellie is GREAT with little kids.
Ellie keeps friends, writes letters, calls people, and gives good gifts.
I feel so blessed to be her mother.
I have loved this beautiful little girl from the days I carried her in my womb.
She is an angel.

Happy Birthday Lady!!
You are really growing up.
I hear that eleven is the year young ladies begin to do their dish jobs happily!!
It's going to be a great year!!!

Ps-- eleven is still WAY too young for makeup and stiletto heals...

July 29, 2014

Just so you don't worry...

We have a full line-up of fun that is beginning to push us through these summer weeks.  

I will try to post off and on, but don't be surprised if I'm more off than on.

My world is blooming and beautiful. 
My children and my calves are growing before my eyes.
My feathered ladies have begun to lay the most adorable eggs.
We have vacuumed and cleaned out our van in preparation for fun trips ahead.
I'm re-visiting my "morning routine" which I have missed for... Oh, about a year and a half!

I am dabbling with the idea of resuming an exercise regimen (gasp).
I am listening to glorious audible books as I putter around the house.

Yesterday, I sorted and purged the girls' clothes (again).  Leah (who gets the most hand me downs and usually has an armoire that is quite full) said, "Mom!! This is so good!!  I can see all my clothes!!"
(Too much is harder to deal with than too little!)

I miss our long philosophical chats, but I am remembering my niche as a mother.

I absolutely love to sing songs, read Mother Goose Rhymes, and play ring around the rosy.

My children are my friends- and I'm just getting to know and like them again.  (Is that bad to admit?)  I grew away from them a bit as I focuses on my own personal recovery.

My oldest boys are growing up before my eyes.  Jakob looks down on me now and I feel that I have always looked up to him.  Oh-- the JOY of teenagers.  Yes, there is heartache.  But- wow!  I love these kids.  

We have become a team.  They are so fun and helpful (when they are not being not fun and unhelpful- ha!).
I am still the coach-- but, I am not the high-scorer these days.

My children love to quote my sigh of exasperation as we played Memory one afternoon.  They think I was absolutely serious when I sighed "I don't even care if you guys beat me because I beat Eve ever single day."  Ha!  It's true.  But, I'm sure I won't be able to beat Eve much longer.  Isn't it amazing how smart these little whiper-snappers are?!

Summer is beautiful.
I hope you swim.
I hope you feel sand beneath your toes.
I hope your toy bins get all mixed up, your kitchen floors are sticky, you find wet swimsuits on your carpet, and your windows are forever fingerprinted!
I hope you laugh, LOVE, and take a nap.

Today- we are alive and blessed.
I am grateful for family.
I'm grateful for summer. 
Life is SO good.

July 24, 2014

Surrendering to Summer

I surrender.

I'm waving my white flag of defeat.
I don't care one whit that my garden is growing weeds and it is!
(Lettuce in the grass.)

Weed ground cover is my contribution to organic gardening.

I believe the grass is growing better inside our garden than outside.
 I think it's funny.
(Peppers in the grass.)

We still have tomatoes and peppers and kale and corn and onions (I have no idea what to do with the onions) and an artichoke... but, this is not the year of the garden.

Who cares?!
Yellow squash grow in weeds!

I'm almost ready to surrender my whole life.  My house, my kids, my job... I just don't know.

This-- right here-- this is the summer that I can NOT do it all.  I can't keep my house from looking like I have 8 (messy) children.  (I can't even surrender without offending someone.  My house is OK it's just not my ok.)

Honestly, my van was stinky and I found a bag of sausage next to Ben's car seat.  Sausage?!  It was beyond gross.
(Me, taking pictures in my garden with a lap full of junk I grabbed to throw away on my way out of my van.  This morning I went to a funeral for my dear friend's wife, and then I had two physicals, and now I'm home.)

Yesterday, I noticed a loaf of bread under the benches in the van.  I was laying outside talking on the phone to a friend when Eve came out of the house with a butter knife and a jar of jelly.  Seriously?  I grabbed the loaf of bread (from my van) and let her make sandwiches for herself and Ben.  I surrender.

I'm always ten minutes late and I'm battling with the mountains of laundry.  I'm doing it, but I'm not DOING it.  I'm enduring and it takes endurance.  This summer is almost as hard as last summer was.  Last summer I was clinging to life, this summer I'm clinging to normal.  Will I always feel like I've talked my way into an honors class that is a bit over my head?  

I'm the little girl who is doggy paddling in the deep end.  I'm certain life guards are watching close to see if I'm swimming or drowning.  I'm smiling, so I think I'm swimming, but if the waves turn on again, I'm sure I'll drown.

My To Do lists feel stagnant.  Both Todd and I are tired.  I'm so sick of pushing forward, climbing, trying, that I'm about to surrender.
(My kitchen today, I was gone and nobody cleaned up breakfast.)
(The boys folded laundry while I was gone.)

Have I arrived at my midlife crisis?  Am I halfway through my marathon and just hitting my wall?  Am I screaming for an epidural when I'm just 2cm away from a beautiful new birth?  I think I already delivered the baby and I'm still trying to push out that dang placenta.  Yes- I cuss about placentas sometimes.  :)

Is this surrender something that I should lean into?  (I imagine on the other end of  surrender might be the land of grace.)  Or, are these the days that I need to tell myself to just keep swimming?  Am I almost there?  (Perhaps my surrender needs to be a grit-filled,"I'm going to climb this mountain even if it kills me", head down, feet moving surrender.) Are these the days I keep planting, pruning, and pushing forward because the harvest years are coming?  Or am I stupid for even planting a garden?

If I didn't plant a garden I wouldn't see my weeds, but I wouldn't have any cute peppers either.

Last week I went with my favorite husband to a dinner for his work.  It was fancy, almost black tie (the chancellor of SU spoke). I, um, didn't quite get the fancy message.  I changed quickly after returning from a birthday party and fixing a quick dinner for my kids.  I wore white linen and sandles.  Todd told me I was beautiful and shining, but I knew I was unmanicured and under dressed.  

I felt honored to be there.  My heart swells just rembering the good people I met who are doing great things in this world.  I had a chance to talk for sometime with the chancellor and his sweet wife, Ruth.  They are such good, inspiring people.  I'm not sure they even noticed my sandles.

Right now, I'm typing away on my phone while my kids play around me.
My gardens have weeds and my pool has leaves.  My house needs me and my kids need me.  And, I surrender.

I'm done with this blog.  I'm putting on my swim suit and I'm going to play!
Drew is my pool cleaner and he asks-- "Mom, why on earth would anyone ever plant a garden around a pool?"
Can you see the fuzzy purple tree that is just about to dump it's fuzz into the pool?
I surrender.
Gardens around pools are beautiful.
We choose to embrace the leaves in our pool.  :)
It's summer.
I'm just hanging on.
Fall will come, my children will grow, my van will be clean, and my gardens will be weeded.
Just say yes.

Today, I am SO glad I planted a dumb garden.  I have squash!
I'm not always pretty- but I'm there.
I'm here.  I'm living.  I'm smiling.
And sometimes, the only difference between drowning and swimming IS the smile on your face.

I surrendor many battles but I'm still in the war.
I'm winning.
I'm swimming.
And my squash doesn't mind weeds.
Life is good!!!!

(My baby is jumping into the pool and I don't have one more moment to read over this silly blog-- I have leaves in my pool, weeds in my garden and typos in my blog.  And, I'm ok with that!)
Happy summer!!!

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