December 07, 2016

Midlife Momma

Hello!  Anybody here?

I miss this little space.
I feel the need to make an appearance and come clean.
I'm just ok.  
C- or D+ or Needs Improvement
I've lost that loving feeling.
I've hit menopause (surgically induced) and maybe hit my mid-life crisis.

I'm ready to sell my dream for a bowl of porridge.  (Really- Todd just gave me permission last week to put our house on the market if I want to.  "But this is your dream," he reminds me.  I try to explain to him that in my dreams horses don't poo, weeds don't grow, big families don't feel so overwhelming, and I can FLY!)

I'm almost ready to sell my house, sell my kids, leave my religion, and head off into a year sabbatical.  

I'm somewhat bipolar without an official psychiatric evaluation-- gung-ho and no-go heavy on the no-go.  

I feel like I've pushed through pregnancy and health issues for so long that I'm just tired of pushing.

Excuse my language but I'm afraid I've lost my give-a-damn.

I've lost almost all of my good habits (scripture reading, blogging, exercising, being kind to my husband, etc.)
I'm apathetic towards motherhood, general sanity, religion, holidays, and  God.  I know He's there I'm just ignoring Him for a moment.

Sigh.
So- what does a mother of eight with no mojo do?  
Good question!

First-- my mom came out for Thanksgiving.  She ended up staying for a few weeks to organize and take over a bit so I could do some things I've been wanting to do.  SOOO NICE!

We started stitching...
Making things is so good for my soul!

I really enjoyed watching old episodes of West Wing, Madam Secretary, and Poldark.

I paid a huge fine (actually I begged my way out of it) and started taking Ben to the library each week again.  (I haven't been in months!). 

This book cracks me up!!
I wonder if my mom wants to stay for a year?  Just so I can take a sabbatical.

Last Monday I got in the car to go do some service for women at Church who are struggling.  I sat in the parking lot calling and couldn't catch anyone at home.  I should have just tried anyway but speed bumps are hard for me these days.

Who am I?
I'm a big hunk of MOTHER.  
I should be writing blog posts inspiring young women to have large families and stay-at-home to raise them.  What an inspiration I could be.

But, right now I really want a job.  I think about it too much.  Not really for now, but a few years from now when Ben is in school.  I want to work because I want to be around people.  I want more money.  I want to do something besides clean my house.  

I know.  I could do something now, like sell books or make-up or clothes.  But, the job I'd want would probably require a masters degree and some more confidence than I have now.

And- I have eight kids.

For two years I've been wanting to exercise-- and I still don't have a plan.  If I do exercise I'm wiped out.  I keep analyzing and never actualizing.

I'm all confused with food.  My bowels are so messed up.  If I do an extreme paleo diet I'm HANGRY.  If I just eat normal-healthy, my stomach is bloated and sick.  So, I pout and eat crap.

I held two babies this past month and I really loved holding them.  That was huge for me.  I pretty much thought my love for babies was forever gone.  Feeling that feeling again gave me hope that this is also a stage that will pass. 

This weekend we worked in the barn and I FELT all the feels.  Sweet cows, warm eggs, LIFE.  My life.  I built this life.  I wanted this life.  I'm LIVING my dream.


And, I can't figure out where to put the poop.  Literally.
It snows A LOT here.
We don't have a tractor.  
If we clean out the stalls everyday, we have a large wheelbarrow of manure and no place to dump it.  Many people tell us to just keep adding straw to the stalls and let the manure build through the winter.  But, I like clean stalls.

I can't figure out what to do.
Instead of pushing onward, I feel overwhelmed and frustrated.  
Small problems make me zone out and avoid the barn.
Nice.

Ben is beginning Special Ed speech therapy.
I'm hopeful and emotional-- I'm crying as I type this.  Maybe because I'm weird guilty/scared/hormonal?

His speech is difficult to classify.  It's not a delay- it's not even a true speech issue, it's mind-mouth issue.  
That scares me.
The therapist says he talks in his throat not his mouth.  
Mouths are easy to retrain, his thing is harder.
He's very smart.
He's very social.
He doesn't have autism.
Our therapist said he's really hard to understand and she works with speech issues all day. 
It might be apraxia but he doesn't talk enough to classify it yet.

He will be fine.  I know it.  
As far as difficulties go, this is mild.  
He can do this.
We can do this.  
He is my job.
I'm his therapist.  
We need each other.  
And, I'm crying again.

I just gave a small attitude to our Special Ed department.  I LOVE them.  Really I do.  And for your sakes I erased the eight paragraph rant I just wrote about issues getting Ben approved for speech.  You're welcome.

Anna just had some thumb thurgery.
She's fine.  I'm fine.  Surgery is tough.
Burned hands are sad.
I love her.
I love him.
I love them.
Love hurts sometimes.


Can I tell you something?  
My life is pretty darn good and I know it.  I feel fine.  My children are pretty ideal.  My husband is charming.  My home is dreamy.  We have high-mediocre amounts of money.  I have a supportive network of family and friends.  I'm pretty good at maintaining, cooking, cleaning, etc.  And yet, here I am just battling my own mind.  
Depression?  Perhaps.  
PTSD?  Maybe.  
Anxiety?  Sure.  
Hormonal ups and downs?  To be expected.  

I think this is just my midlife crisis and I thank God for a family that pulls me through.  They need to eat, they need to bathe occasionally, we have a barn full of animals, and I have a little bit that needs a full time mother.  

I think I'm on the up swing.
I think writing this blog is a good nod back to something I have loved before.
Really-- I'm doing much better than this blog makes me sound.  
Life is good.  I'm good.  
Report cards are out and I'm ready for a new semester.

Physical trials are tough.
Mental trials are harder.

I know what to do-- 
Clean my body and soul.
Nourish my body and soul.
Exercise my body and soul.
Look for the miracles and be grateful.

If that doesn't work, buy season 3 of Madam Secretary from Amazon Prime for $35.

If I leave, look for me in a red sports car driving through Switzerland.  Or I'll be the old mom in nursing school.  

It's a shame I can't just write that book I've always wanted to write, because I always thought I'd write about parenting and now I'm a D+ C- midlife crisis momma. Want my advice?

Yes, life is good.
Living the dream is just stinkier than dreaming the dream.
It always is, right?  Even in Australia.


August 26, 2016

Worshipping in Weeds

We have had a summer filled to the brim with activities, family, and inspiration.  I'm just returning from a week with my brother at BYU Education Week where they offer thousands of classes on everything from cooking healthy to organizing your home to the Constitution and New Testament symbolism.  This week is always such a wonderful opportunity for me to fill my mind with healing and inspiration.  I come home ready to put into action every dream I ever had for my home and family.  

And...
I come home to a house and barn that has missed me terribly.

How do we live in a world that is far below our expectations or desires?  We all have to do this in one way or another.
For me, I'm drowning in unfolded laundry and weeds.  The cows got into our barn a few times and caused havoc mixed with poo.  Our chicken coop needs the love of a mother hen and honestly, I'm afraid that cleaning out a dirty chicken coop will trigger in me another round of Sarcoidosis (a lung reaction triggered by breathing in fumes).  We have a pool that is so much work.  We didn't open it last summer and have never gotten it quite right this summer.  And- I refuse to spend my whole life pushing my kids to work.  We need some time for play.  I need some time for rest.

I need to feel the easy yoke.

I've been trying to WORSHIP more in addition to STUDYING.
For me, worship is gratefully and humbly walking in the Spirit of the Lord.  Just being outside in nature helps me worship.  Looking at holy art, hearing or singing holy music is worship for me.

When I worship, I feel like I've been bathed or cleansed of all my fears and allowed the seasons and strength of the wind remind my soul that all is well.  I feel Him whispering "Peace, Be Still."  
I see His gifts, flowers amidst the weeds.
My barn is a mess!!  But, I have a barn.
My children and my animals are content and even happy.
Drew works hard out here in the fields.  He feeds the animals and even keeps the bird feeders full with alternating bird food.
I went to bed last night careful and troubled about many things.  I told Todd I was ready to move to a smaller home on less land.  He reminded me that THIS was my dream.  I told him I dream too big.  

This morning I studied about Christ's first miracle- changing the water into fine wine.  I heard promise in that miracle.  I thought that He was promising me that He could turn my water offering into wine.  I heard a whisper of faith and hope, but those drops fell hollow in my troubled mind.  I knew it, but I didn't feel it.

It wasn't until I took time to walk and feel God in my life that I could SEE Him.
I saw Him here, in my weedy gardens and stinky barn.  
I felt the love of my father...
And my Creator...

I'm trying not to create a long To Do List.
Today-- I'm SO grateful for the chance to feel.

I'm posting on Instagram @mossmoments the short video I took of the stinkiest place in my yard.  I think you can feel the same peace I felt there.

Today- I'm going to fold laundry while seeking gratitude and peace.  I'm going to send my boys out to make peace in the barn.

And, even if nothing improves, I will feel blessed in this mess.
Flowers grow beside weeds.
God loves us even as He lets us stretch and grow.
There is beauty all around when there is GOD at home.
This is my front porch.  Birds are cawing in front of me and my little kids are watching morning cartoons behind me.  The professor is professoring, my teenage boys are soccering, my teenage girls are visiting in Connecticut, and I am here- worshipping.

Life is good.


August 14, 2016

Living Happily Ever After!

We've been married almost 20 years, and since I was married just after turning 20 we are quickly approaching my "I've been married half my life" anniversary.  

During these past 20 years we've endured extensive health trials, the tragic injury of a child, financial hardship, marriage and personal counseling, we've moved to a new state 6 times, we've earned numerous degrees and been poor students, we've managed frequent travel for work, and I spent most of the past 20 years pregnant or nursing our eight children.  

My marriage today is better than I could have ever imagined it to be and I know this is partly because I chose a good  egg, but also because we both really work on keeping our marriage.

Oh friends, choose your spouse wisely!  Do not marry someone you love (it's so easy to love people).  Marry someone you respect and admire.  Marry someone who loves you so much that he will spend his whole life learning to love you better.  Marry someone who will pull you up and inspire you with his conversation and work ethic.  Marry someone who treats his mother well and who treats strangers well.

Then, after you have chosen, LOVE HIM! Stop wondering IF you chose right and focus all of your efforts on helping this young man become the best that he can be by LOVING the best inside him.  A good woman knows that she is not just a partner, she is a gardener.

It's hard to love if you are insecure.  Do you know what is so attractive to a man, to everyone really? A woman who is comfortable in her own skin.  I'm not sure when I reached the age that I accepted myself and gave myself fully to my husband and my God.  

Obviously, I am always trying to improve. I want to lose weight and be better at so many things.  But, I often tell myself-- this is the body I have.  I will love Todd with this body and let him love me.  These are the gifts and talents that I have.  I will serve others with what I have.  There is peace that comes from humility.  As I humbly accept I am just a normal (not the hottest, not the nicest, not the most organized, not the most talented) wife and mother, I feel peace in my skin.  

Letting go of my pride allows me to genuinely love the gifts of others without defensiveness.  

I also think it's SO important to date your husband.  In my opinion, double dates are the best.  It's easier to be your fun-loving self when you are with another couple.  I don't think dates are a good time to talk extensively about your children or your problems.  You need time away from the rigors of life to just flirt and laugh and be two adults who love each other.  

I love that even at the beginning of my religion, Mormons sang and danced together.  Wholesome recreational activities are healing and rejuvenating.  TV or movie watching dates are my least favorite dates.  If you do end up watching a play or movie together, be sure you go out to eat and drive with another fun couple so you have time to talk and laugh.  Laughing is so good for relationships!  

Honestly, I NEVER feel like going on a date.  It's tough to arrange things at home.  I worry about my kids' bedtime routine.  It takes time and effort to look a little nicer and change out of my comfy yoga pants.  If I think about the money we spend on nice dinners I could probably think of ten ways I'd rather spend my money.  BUT, like everything good in life, dating is worth the effort.

We went out last night, driving in our huge 15 passenger van (because Todd's little car has no air conditioning).  Our kids called us 15 times.  Lily had a tooth hanging on by a string.  We convinced her to let Jakob pull it.  We got 3 scared calls and one call of jubilant victory, followed by three calls of concern that the tooth fairy won't come because she ALWAYS forgets.  One call to insure the promise that if the tooth fairy did forget (again) that we would give her money in the morning.  And, two calls from sisters asking us not to forget to give them a hug and kiss when we got home.

We stopped at Target and Walmart to return things and buy things.  The woman at Walmart customer service said  she wasn't used to being treated with kindness and thanked us for our patience.  I just held on to Todd's arm, grateful again for the nice man that I'm married to.

We hold hands as we walk and drive.  I noticed how, even after 20 years, I still feel tingles when he brushes the top of my hand with his thumb.

I laughed when I noticed his painted pinky nail.  He took all 5 girls on a father-daughter Campout last night and they begged him to let them paint his nails.  He relented to one nail for one day.  He's a good dad.

You know that I'm a natural optimist.  And, obviously Todd and I don't have a perfect marriage.  We have a regular marriage.  We struggle daily with our own special blend of frustrations, trials, weaknesses, even sins that we try hard to let go of.  I'm good but very real and so is Todd.  He's a jerk sometimes (and I'm sassy).  

But, I never could have imagined, as I was preparing to marry this kid, that after 20 years together I could be so much more in love with this man than ever before.  EVERY aspect of our life is better today than it was twenty years ago.  I would never want to re-live twenty because almost forty is better.  

If I could give every one of you a gift, I would give you a man that loves you like Todd loves me.  But, like the oil in the lamp of the ten virgins, love cannot be transferred.  What I can tell you with my whole soul, is that if you have this kind of love, you are SO rich.  And, if you don't have it yet, never ever forget that it IS possible!  

Practice loving every day.  

Love  is how you serve others, love is how you talk about others, love is how you see yourself with grace and extend that grace to others.  Love is physical touch.  Love is seeing the best.  Love is spending time and money.  Love takes effort.  Love is not merely a flutter in your stomach the first time your eyes meet.  Love is really seeing a naked, imperfect man and letting your heart flutter at the best that is in him.  Love more!

I wish someone could have told me twenty years ago that it IS possible to be happy in marriage.  And so, that is my shout to you this morning.

My name is Jenifer Moss.
I have been married 20 years and I am still absolutely in love with my husband.  
Two very normal and imperfect people CAN live happily ever after even without balls and fairy godmothers.
I know it.


July 14, 2016

Todd and I on the Radio

We parked at a local McDonalds and the producer called our cell phones just minutes before we went on air.  This is 30   minutes of us being us on the radio.

All I could think of when he announced me as Miss New York was that I'm SO glad American Mothers did not have a swimsuit competition.  Ha!

Enjoy!
(Sorry this link isn't connected-- I can't figure out how to fix it on my phone.)

http://m.wsyr.iheart.com/onair/bob-lonsberry-46481/listen-syracuse-stars-in-hill-cumorah-14905237/


The Hill Cumorah

I woke up Pageant early (around 8am) and walked to my favorite private bathrooms near the Hill Cumorah.  The hill was so quiet and is now so filled with fun memories for me and my family.

As I sat here in the audience chairs, listening to the chirping birds and feeling just a whisper of morning coolness in the air, I read once again the Introduction to the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel. 

The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians. 

The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come. 

After Mormon completed his writings, he delivered the account to his son Moroni, who added a few words of his own and hid up the plates in the Hill Cumorah. On September 21, 1823, the same Moroni, then a glorified, resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language. 

In due course the plates were delivered to Joseph Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God. The record is now published in many languages as a new and additional witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that all who will come unto Him and obey the laws and ordinances of His gospel may be saved. 

Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” 

In addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord provided for eleven others to see the gold plates for themselves and to be special witnesses of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Their written testimonies are included herewith as “The Testimony of Three Witnesses” and “The Testimony of Eight Witnesses.” 

We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.) 

Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah. (Book of Mormon, Introduction)

I feel this morning like I have felt so many times in my past, I wish I had words to convey the depth of conviction in my soul.  I am a truth seeker!  I am someone who feels quickly in my soul when something is wrong and someone who is willing to die for what I know is right.  

I know that The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.  I feel Christ's love as I read the Bible and I feel it even more clearly as I read the Book of Mormon.  Of course the Savior of the world would teach and visit His people all over the world, not just in Jerusalem.

If you have read this blog, you know that I don't believe life is supposed to be easy.  Character is built as we stretch and seek.  My religion has not guaranteed me a life free from pain or trials.  But, it has given me PEACE and perspective through the trials of life. 

I wish everyone could see and feel what I feel as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  There is so much joy and safety being a member of a community of people trying to be loving and unified.  I could not raise my children without the constant examples and mentoring they receive from our community.  Sure, there are times that being a member of a church family is uncomfortable.  But the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices.

As I'm typing this, I just happened to look to my right and noticed Jakob (my oldest) throwing a frisbee with one of his leaders.  The teenagers play a lot of ultimate frisbee here at Pageant.  Jakob came home yesterday morning drenched in sweat and laughingly told me he is no good at throwing a frisbee but is a fast runner.  I'm not surprised at all to hear his leader coaching him and teaching him as they throw back and forth together before the rest of the kids arrive. My children are blessed to be a part of this community.
Yes, being a part of this Hill Cumorah Pageant was hard for me and my family.  We were hot and tired and far from the conveniences of home.  But, oh how amazing it has been to be surrounded by a cast of over 750 good, good people.  How blessed my children have been to listen to devotionals and to interact with happy, kind, modest, good people.  

I would love to send you a copy of The Book of Mormon if you are interested.  Email me at toddnjenifermoss@gmail.com

Life is good!
This book is true!
I will miss this hot, crazy time of life.

July 13, 2016

Being In the Hill Cumorah Pageant as a Family

We are loving The Hill Cumorah Pageant even if I've been too busy to blog about it every day.  

The hardest thing about being in Pageant is doing it with small children.  Our days are hot and long.  For children used to long naps and early bedtimes, staying awake to be in a show starting at 9pm is tough.  We are definitely not doing this for our younger children.  We're doing it for our older kids!  

I would say that the best time to be in Pageant would be when your youngest child is age 8 or 9.  Having younger kids is a real sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice I'm happy to make to give my older children this experience.

Pageant is like a fun summer camp.  The kids are all divided into cast teams by age.  The cast teams meet together daily to play games and hang out.  It is SO fun for the older kids to make friends and perform on-stage with so many other great kids.

That has been the best part for Todd and I also.  We have met some great families here and I'm certain that we'll be friends with them for a long time.

There is also something powerful about performing in a Pageant about the Book of Mormon on the very hill where we believe The Book of Mormon was buried and brought forth to the prophet Joseph Smith by an angel years ago.  This is holy ground and you can feel it.  

When I am here on Cumorah, I look around and feel the goodness of the 750 people performing with us.  I feel that these are my people.  I love Mormons.  I love the devotionals, I love the lessons my children are learning, I love the standards of modesty, I love the large families and strong marriages.  I love the sense of community I feel here.  

Each year, Pageant workers participate in community service projects around town.   We are taught to love and serve.  

We are encouraged to be unified as a cast and to obey with exactness (this is especially important with a set that uses water and fire pyrotechnics).  

Our church and this Pageant is led by volunteers.  On set and in the cast, millionaires work alongside bus drivers.  There are a few beloved members of our cast with special needs.  They are our superstars.  It is beautiful to watch the love and support they are given.  Our cast really feels like a big, happy family.

As we perform the stories of The Book of Mormon, I feel in my soul that I believe this book.  I believe that after Christ left the people in Jerusalem, he visited his "other sheep" in the Americas.  I think he probably visited every civilization that he could have visited.  The Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ.  It is named after Mormon, an American prophet who was named after the place Mormon.  The waters of Mormon was a place where many were brought to the knowledge of their Savior, they were taught and baptized there.  I believe that The Book of Mormon also brings men to Christ.  

As a young girl, I was drawn to this church because I saw it was filled with strong, happy families.  It wasn't the most fun church I attended, but it taught good, traditional values.  Every day since then, I have continued to seek for truth.  I feel a great responsibility to teach my children where to look for answers and stability.  I want them to know the purpose of life and I want them to be surrounded by a loving, nurturing community.  We have found this within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

One of my favorite scriptures says, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, there will I be in the midst of them, even as I am in the midst of you."

I feel God here in Cumorah.  
I'm grateful for this opportunity.
#come2cumorah
Just three shows left!  Come see us!

July 03, 2016

The Hill Cummorah Pageant- Day 3

Church at Cummorah was really beautiful.  Ever since the first day I was here, whenever I hear everyone sing together in this pavilion, I cry.  There is such a sweet Spirit on this hill that is magnified by the 750 cast members.

We sit through a lot of training and a lot of devotionals.  One of the best things I did was to pack Ben a little box that is divided into 4 sections- animals, cars, Legos, and PlayDoh.  Ben sits for hours playing with his box of toys.  I'm SO grateful for that little voice of inspiration that prompted me to pack this box before we left.





Hill Cumorah Pageant-- Day 2

I took a nap today and that made all the difference.  Ha!

I started the day a little down, but I'm ending it happy and hopeful.

The weather has been lovely.   The kids really are so good.  We are making some new friends and the schedule is beginning to make sense to us.
This morning I asked our camp directors if anyone ever left Pageant NOT liking it. 😂 (I had only heard of very positive experiences prior to signing up.)  I should have expected they would tell me that, like everything else in life, the hard beginning makes the ending so much sweeter.

I'm sure I'll be talking more about my part in Pageant.  I wanted to be background but I was given a small speaking part (it figures- God always calls on me to speak).  

Ancient American prophets had prophecied that a Savior would be born in Jerusalem.  Years past from the prophecy and non-believers were ready to put the believers to death.  I'm certain the believers were beginning to lose hope  waiting for the sign that they had been promised.  The non-believers promise to kill the believers when the sun sets.  

As the sun is setting, a bright, new star lights the sky over Bethleham and shines in the Anericas.  My part is to say, "A STAR!  A new star!l"  (Basically I'm the female lead.) 😉

Do you know what I love about this part?  I feel like I am HOPE!  In a small way I want to say to the whole world-- Hang on!!  Jesus Christ IS our Savior!  Our Father in Heaven hears us and answers our prayers.  We do have prophets on the Earth today.  You are loved and saved from death.  A STAR!  A new star!!
  

July 02, 2016

Hill Cumorah Pageant- Day 1


Gee Whiz!  Packing for 3 weeks in an RV is tough, especially if you have 8 children. 

My mother and father in-law saved me by showing up at my house yesterday and magically Mary Poppinsing.  I'm shocked we made it out and although I'm shocked at how much stuff we brought, I'm certain we forgot many things.

The RV wouldn't start when we got in it to go, probably someone had left a light on.  So while Todd and his father jumped it, my mom and I went to return some of Ellie's glasses and head up to Palmyra.  I was supposed to pick up lunch for everyone at McD's.  I wrote down the order and called ahead to have $64 in junk all ready and waiting.  When we got there, we realized I had called the wrong store!!!  So, I needed to reorder AND apologize to the other store.

While I was reordering, I got a text from my neighbor saying our dog was running around in the street!!! We live on a main highway.  They kindly brought him to their house until a storm subsided and then brought him home and realized he had pushed open a gate.  Thank goodness for kind neighbors.  God bless our animals while we're gone!

I didn't take ANY pictures yesterday.  

To be honest, this whole experience is completely overwhelming to me right now. There are many families here who have done this for years.  I feel like I don't know what's going on and it's hard for me to have my children spread all around.  We're outside all day, with a lot of walking and a lot of sitting.  Ben has done pretty well, but he's hard at the same time.

Eve was sitting on some stairs yesterday and started screaming like I've never heard her scream before.  I was in a knee-length maxi skirt and carrying Ben in slow-motion trying to climb the stairs to get to her.  It was HORRIBLE. She got stung by 5 or 6 yellow jackets.  On her hand, in her hair, on her face and nose.  We spent some quality time in the nurses office.  Eve's fine (although she is now jumpy and terrified of bees). She didn't have an allergic reaction.  But I'm honestly teary-eyed just writing this.

Everyone is divided into cast teams by age. Ben stays with Todd and I.  Last night the whole camp of over 750 men, women, and children got cast into parts.  

I can't really remember what parts everyone got.  The whole process tugged my heartstrings.  My Anna is not in dance lessons, but she wants to be.  I knew she really wanted a dancing part but was given a non-believer in a destruction scene part.  She was disappointed.  I really hope this is a positive experience for her.  

Todd is an old world disciple at the time of Christ (I think).  Jakob is a backline Lamanite.  I am a speaking believer.  I'm not sure what everyone else is yet.

Our little RV is perfect and quite humble compared to many other mansion RVs that people have brought.

The 4 teens are sleeping outside in tents.  Todd and I have a bed, the little girls sleep above the car cab, and Ben is on the couch.

We'll see what today holds.
I was SO excited about this experience.  Actually being here, I just feel overwhelmed and hopeful.

Come see us if you live nearby!
I can tell you that we LOVE watching this Pageant, I'm not sure yet if we love being IN it.  😶



June 18, 2016

A Walk in the Woods


2.6 miles from my door and back.
This is a beautiful land that we live in.
I have known, since my body endured near-death experiences, that I needed to walk outside each day to help heal my mind and body.
It has taken me three years to really do it.

It also make me smile how much I love my silly dog.  He's perfect.  I thought I was buying him for Jakob, but I think I got him for me.  I would never be brave enough to traipse around without him.

Have a great day!













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