Saturday, December 25, 2010

Silent Night

As I sit tonight enjoying the last few hours of Christmas this year I am left with a feeling of gratitude and sadness. The holiday season always feels so rushed and sometime I let that get the better of me, but tonight with my family all tucked in their beds asleep I get to take a quiet moment to think back on this last year.

It has been a year of turmoil and wonder. Of course some of the turmoil was created by Richard because for some reason his being around seems to make everything harder. So my first thought is how grateful I am that he is far away in another country. I realize this might sound vindictive and mean, but really when he is gone everything calms down.

My next thought is of my two younger brothers. One was married this year to a wonderful woman. They seem to be so happy and he has waited such a long time to finally meet the right person that I would feel so ungrateful not to mention this wonderful event tonight. They have been married a little over four months and the newlywed glow still gleams brightly off both of them. The other is far away in another country and I am missing him tonight. He called for Christmas and it was so good to hear from him, but it left me feeling sad that he is not here sharing Christmas with us.

Another grateful thought is for my sister's divorce. It finally happened this week after a year and a half of struggling through it. The only sad part is that nothing has been settled. Richard filed for bifurcation so that if he died while overseas my sister didn't have any rights to make any of the final arrangements. They still have to go to court and battle everything else out, but at least my sister is free to move on with her life. With all the turmoil surrounding this situation I expected a big bang at the end, but it happened quietly without much fanfare. I am sure this will not be the case when they go to court.

One thing that has left me feeling sad and happy at the same time is that my two older boys came to me a few days ago to let me know that they knew the truth about Santa. I can't say I was disappointed that they knew the truth, but it did make me a bit sad that they are growing up so fast. I worried that this knowledge was going to make their Christmas experience less exciting, but that wasn't the case at all. They were still excited to open their presents and put on a great show to keep the spirit alive for my younger two children. In the end I feel them knowing was a blessing for me because I felt I didn't have to lie, or pretend if you will, and still be able to fully enjoy Christmas day. They knew who the gifts came from and they were so great to thank their father and me all day for the wonderful presents without taking the excitement of Santa away from my younger two. (I may not push Santa on my children, but I won't ruin it for them if they want to believe.)

My finally thoughts of the night are on the little baby boy who's birth we are celebrating tonight. A baby who would grow into a man and bring a message of joy and happiness to the world. I am most grateful for my Savior and for the message of hope and of love he shares with us, but most of all the message of having an eternal family.

So to end this entry I want to wish a Merry Christmas out there to my family. I love you all very much and hope such great things for you. May God bless each of you and may your days be merry and bright.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Only The Lonely

My sister has been separated from Richard now for well over a year and a half. She filed for divorce about four months after she left him. About four months after she filed Richard was engaged to the new love of his life. My sister found this out from her children who were unsettled that their father had met someone and asked her to marry him without really even talking to them.

This woman has a two year old daughter and Richard insisted that  his boys refer to the little girl as their sister. He had his fiance move her things into his new house and gave the little girl her own room. His boys were a little upset about this because he told one of them that they could have their own room and now they couldn't. The little girl was a bit spoiled being two and an only child which was hard on my youngest nephew. He was used to getting a lot of his dad's positive attention and now Richard was yelling at him more and more. My youngest nephew did not take this well.

My sister was concerned that Richard was setting a bad example for her boys by letting his fiance and daughter stay overnight. Not only were they not divorced, but they had always taught their boys that you should be married before living with someone. She discussed it with him and he swore up and down that this was not happening and would not happen while they were divorced and he was married to his new fiance, but not two weeks later her oldest came home and said that not only was she spending the night, but that she was sleeping in bed with his dad.

This was upsetting and hard for my sister. How was she supposed to teach her boys right from wrong when their father was always contradicting her? All she could do was continue telling them that this was not a good thing and that they shouldn't do it.

Another upsetting thing was that during the time of his engagement he was still trying to get my sister to reconsider and come back to him. Which proves that in his mind he thought there was still a chance they might not get a divorce. So he was in fact cheating on my sister and because he was still trying to come get back with him he was also cheating on his fiance. When my sister brought this to his attention his excuse was that he was lonely and in a bad place.

Well let me tell you something. I've have had my moments of loneliness and I know my sister is lonely, but it has never crossed our minds to go out and find someone new while we are married to someone else. Whenever I get sad or lonely I usually get a new pet and my sister reads a book, exercises or calls someone to talk too. Funny how she manages not to go whoring around even though she's lonely, but I can promise you one thing if she did Richard would be all over her for it and wouldn't have the slightest problem pointing out that she was doing so. He's such a peach I tell ya.

Oh and about four months after he asked this woman to marry him she broke it off. I wonder why? It couldn't be because Richard is the most selfish man on earth, could it?

So we know what Richard does when he's lonely, and what my sister and I do when we are lonely. What do you do when you are lonely? 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dear Commercial Christmas,

I hate you. I hate the expectations of giving gifts because you say I have too. Isn't the point of giving gifts supposed to be because I want to not because I'm expected too. I hate that instead of Jesus being the reason for the season it's a fat man in a red suit. I hate you fat man. I hate that you have set such high expectations for children around the world. It's making them greedy. Instead of wondering about why we celebrate the holiday they are worried about how they can manage to get more gifts then their friends. I hate making the stores rich because of these expectations.

 I  am tired of worrying if I spent enough on each person's gift. I am tired of looking at gift after gift worrying if the person will like it and then decide they won't and get them a gift card so they can pick out their own gift. I hate that when I ask my youngest child what Christmas is about his first reaction is "Santa", and only after I give him a stern look he says, "Oh yeah I think it's about Jesus being born, too." I hate pretending and lying to children to keep up an illusion I can't and don't want to live up to because I won't spend what other people are willing to spend.

Commercial Christmas you suck. You have taken all the joy out of giving gifts because now people not only expect them their upset if they don't get one. You take all the joy and spirit out of what Christmas is about and I want you to know the only reason I haven't told my children the truth this far is because I respect the rights of other people and don't want my children to ruin it for anyone else.

Maybe the time has come that I do tell them the truth. Maybe it's time we celebrate what Christmas is about without you, Commercial Christmas. Maybe they need to know that Christmas has nothing to do with a fat man and everything to do with our Savior's birth and the sacrifice he made for us and that the only reason they get a gift is because of that sacrifice not because stupid elves in the North Pole.

I hate that their is such a wedge between us Commerical Christmas. I hate that this far into our relationship we haven't managed to reach an agreeable arrangement.  Maybe if you weren't so overbearing we could reach a compromise. Maybe you could take a back seat next year so that the true meaning can shine through. I don't know the solution, but if you have any idea on how to remedy this situation I would be happy to hear them. Until then I will have to continue hating you Commerical Christmas.


Torna Part

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Anyone?

We are living in a world were we are told that we "deserve" to be happy. Like it's something that just happens. Now don't get me wrong I want people to be happy, but happiness is not something that just happens. You have to work on being happy. How do I know this? Well, I've spent the last few months working on being happy myself.

It's true I've had to work really hard on being happy even though I already have a great life. I have a wonderful husband who I trust and adore and I know adores me. I have four beautiful children who are healthy, kind and considerate human beings. I have super great family support with wonderful in-laws who I think are the best in the world. (I'm not kidding about this. They really are wonderful people.) I live in a house that is big enough for my family and is affordable. We always have enough to eat, our house has heat and running water, we have plenty of clothes  for our family, we have two working cars and my husband has a great job that allows me to stay home fore the most part.

I am truly blessed.People are always talking about living the American Dream and I do. I really live the American Dream. I am not rich by any means and there are times when things get tight, but we are always blessed to make it through.

So after listing all of that why would I need to even try to be happy? It's because I was being selfish. I wanted more. I was always thinking of the things I didn't have instead of what I do have. I was always thinking that if "this would happen", or "if we could just make this amount of money I would be happy", but I wasn't. I was actually making myself miserable. I had everything right in front of me, but I was looking so far ahead hoping that someday my dreams would all come true that I didn't notice most of them already had.

We all can be happy, but we have to work on it. I read an article in a magazine about people in a third world country who have next to nothing, but that they were some of the happiest people in the world and I wondered how that was even possible. The guy who wrote the article said they were happy because they chose to be happy. Which proved to him and myself that happiness is a choice and I needed to choose to be happy.

So I did.

For the last few months I have tried to focus on being happy. When something that usually sent me down a path of unhappiness happened I learned to stop myself and look at the bright side. My mom calls it "The Pollyanna Attitude." If you don't know who Pollyanna is this might not make since, but it's a movie about a girl who against all odds tries to be happy. I hated the movie as a kid, but as an adult I can appreciate the message that was being sent. In the movie Pollyanna played what she called "the glad game", and that's what I started to do. When something happened or I started to feel sorry for myself I would think of ten things that I was glad about. Sounds corny I know, but it actually worked for me.

I know some of you are thinking, "there's nothing in my life to be glad about", but you're wrong. If you live in the U.S. you already have a head start. You have something that many do not. Freedom. As a woman this is huge. All you have to do is Google women's rights in the world and you will see how much you already have. Have you ever read how the woman in the middle east are treated? Enough said.

So this is my challenge to you. I want you to list ten things you are "glad" about and post it in the comment section. Saying it out loud is part of the game so as you write it down say it out loud. It's almost human nature to allow ourselves to be miserable, but just this once see if you can allow yourself to be happy.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Christmas Spirit

For those of you who don't know I like to write and each year the local newspaper has a Christmas story writing contest. I won honorable mention last year and thought I would share that story with you in light of the Christmas season.

Jillian’s Christmas Wish
“What do you want for Christmas?” I overheard my five year old, Sarah, asking her Aunt at our annual family Christmas party.  
“A baby,” my sister Jillian answered quietly.
A sad pain pricked my heart as I watch the sorrow spread across my sister’s face, but seemed to go unnoticed by my daughter.
“Can Santa Claus bring a real baby for Christmas,” my daughter asked optimistically.
“I don’t think so,” my sister replied with tightness in her voice.
I could see Jillian was trying to keep it together so as not to upset the rest of the family. It had been a hard year for her. She had known for a long time that having a child of her own was out of the question, but she had taken it extra hard since our youngest sister had announced she was expecting.
Jillian would now be the only one in our family without children and although she and her husband had put in their adoption papers a year and a half earlier they had heard nothing from the agency so far.
The evening went on swiftly. Children laughed and played games while the adults discussed world events and enjoyed each other’s company. It had been a wonderful party so far with the best saved for last, presents.  
We all watch as eighteen grandchildren opened presents their grandparents had carefully purchased for them. Each child was ecstatic with their new toy showing them to anyone who would pay attention, but no one was more excited than my daughter Sarah who had been given a beautiful baby doll.
The doll resembled Sarah with its blue eyes and blond hair and I could see Sarah was delighted with her.
As the children finished showing off their gifts and the adults picked up the clutter I continued to watch Sarah play with her doll. She carefully rocked it for several minutes while pretending to feed its bottle and then to my surprise Sarah stood up and walked over to my sister Jillian and handed her the baby.
“Here you can have my baby until you get one of your own.”
Tears welled up in my sister’s eyes as well as my own as she reached out and took the baby from my daughter. Jillian kissed the doll gentle on its head cradling it briefly before returning it to Sarah.
“Thank you Sarah, but I think your baby will miss you if I took it home,” she said as she smiled and hugged my daughter tightly.
That has been the most wonderful Christmas I can remember. It was the year I got to see firsthand the true spirit of Christmas as only a child could portray.
To make the season even brighter Jillian received a phone call two days before Christmas to inform her that a baby girl had been born and they had been chosen by the birthmother. Jillian had received her Christmas wish after all.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Something Funny

 My sister in law told me a funny story this weekend and I thought I would share. This sister-in-law is married to my older brother. She has a wicked sense of humor and makes me laugh all the time.

Last year for Christmas she got a Cricut and started cutting vinyl decor for her home. She also cut some vinyl "People" for her minivan to show how many people where in her family. She started with her husband, my brother, then herself and their four children. It looked pretty good, but here is were her wicked sense of humor comes into play. She decided to cut out several more wives (one of them pregnant) and lots of kids for each of the wives so it looked like my brother was a polygamous. It was really funny. They get honks all the time and even have people taking picture of their van.

Now that you know this background here comes the funny story. Their older daughter invited a friend to spend the night, but before the friend's parents would let her they wanted to meet my brother and his wife. (I can totally understand being cautious.) My brother didn't realize they wanted to meet with him so he stayed in the family room while this couple and my sister-in-law sat down in the front room to talk. The father of this friends starts to ask his questions. Here is the list if some of those questions below...
1. How many children do you have if you don't mind me asking? (She didn't mind and answered four.)
2. You don't seem old enough to have four children. (Giving a strange look she responded with, "I'm thirty two. I think I'm old enough.) His wife was thirty three and has three so this seemed acceptable.
3. Who is going to be here tonight? (Well I will be home all night, but my husband won't be. He has somewhere he has to be.) (My brother works graveyards.)
 4. So only your four children and yourself will be here? (Yeah just me and the kids.)

After this the father of the friend seemed satisfied, but my sister-in-law was a bit perplex at the questions until she realized he was asking all these questions because he thought they were polygamous. He must have thought she was fourteen when she married my brother or something like that and my brother was off that night with "one of his other wives".This was all thanks to her passion for her Cricut and her polygamous minivan.