Monday, March 29, 2010

Letter to my daughter

Dear Ashley,

I just wanted to write this letter to let you know how proud I am of you. You have really come a long way and even though you have faced difficult times you pushed forward and didn’t give up. I wanted to share my most recent experience with you because I see that you are struggling with the same issue.

It has been very difficult for me to get used to being a stay at home mom. It is so easy to focus on the negative aspects of the situation. From what I have learned about the scriptures is that Satan makes bad things easy and from what I have learned through experience is that I am never happy in the end when I did things the easy way. Most people would think I am crazy for finding it hard to be home because most people (myself included) viewed being home as relaxing and fun. Now that things here at home are becoming more organized I am feeling better however just last week I was wanting out so bad that I was willing to rush into another situation just to get out of the current one. You know that I have been talking about wanting to go to the nail tech school. From the second I heard the information I was hyped up and couldn’t concentrate on anything else. I decided to pray about it and have been doing so for the past week with no answer. I finally heard it this morning. I woke up early to do Vic’s hair and take him to school. Because I went to bed at a decent time last night I actually felt well rested and awake. The first thing I did was sit down to watch some of my shows. I got up a couple of times to get something from the kitchen and noticed that because the family has been working together to keep the house clean, there wasn’t going to be much to do so I could get to some of the other things done that I have been wanting to do. Things like cleaning the room upstairs and get stuff organized. The second I turned the TV off and it was silent, I heard my answer about the nail tech school. For the past week I have kept myself so busy with random, unimportant things like tv or shopping. It has been so loud around me that I couldn’t hear what heavenly father was saying to me. I had worked so hard to get to where I am right now and I wasn’t even giving it a chance to get used to.

The reason I wanted to share this with you is because I see you keeping yourself just as busy. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to be busy but remember what I always say… To much of ANYTHING (good or bad) is not good for you. Last night when I sat down to paint with you and victor, I noticed that you were getting frustrated because you didn’t like the way your painting was turning out. Victor and I were still on the first step and you had jumped so far ahead that it was difficult to realize what you needed to do to fix it. If you would have slowed down and followed the steps in order you would have been able to enjoy the process and have a better result. I see you doing this same thing with growing up. Now I am sure that all teenagers go through this very same thing when it comes to growing up. Everyone wants to be independent and on their own however when you speed through this process you miss out on enjoying being a kid. Reality hits, you look back and wish you would have relaxed more and enjoyed the ride because you can never get it back.

It’s just the same with me being a stay at home mom. I was so busy trying to jump ahead that I wasn’t enjoying the process of getting there. Now I know that I still want to do nail tech school but the difference between the way I feel now and the way I felt yesterday is that I know I don’t need to do it next week. There are more important things that need my full attention at this time. Things like my home, my pets and most importantly my family. Every day that goes by gets easier and I am finding that I am starting to enjoy this new adventure. If I hadn’t slowed down I never would have known this. We can always back up and fix mistakes just as you will be able to fix your painting. You just need to stop, say a prayer and start over. Turn down the volume and slow down a little so that you can hear the answers to your prayers. You will find that the silence is peaceful. It will help to relax those tense shoulders of yours.

I love you so much Ashley. I know that it is annoying to always have your parents telling you what to do and interjecting their opinions left and right. I hope you know deep down in your heart that it is only because we love you and not because we want to control you. Every day I pray to be a better parent then the day before and you are always teaching me new things. The thought of being away from both you and your brother this summer is tearing me up inside but I know that you need to spread your wings and learn to fly a little. I can only hope that I have taught you to fly straight. Just remember honey, when things get a little crazy just stop, say a prayer, turn down the volume and listen for your answer. This lesson has saved me a lot of unnecessary heart ache.

Love you always


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Seminary Struggles

My daughter Ashley is mad because we are making her go to seminary (a class given by the church to teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ) at 5:30 am every morning. When we lived in Washington State it wasn’t a big deal because seminary started at 7am and all the kids went to the same school so they would give each other rides straight to school when it was over. Here in Virginia it is a lot more involved. We leave our house in Quantico by 5:30 am, get on a freeway to drive 20 minutes away to a church members house in Mt Clair. I drop her off and head to the Panera Bread to sit and make a “to do” list for the day. I pick her up at 6:50 am, get back on the freeway just to sit in traffic for 20-30 minutes just to get back on base. We swing by the house to pick Victor up and then I drop them off at school just in time.

When I first heard about the time and location of the seminary class here I thought “There is ABSOLUTLY NO WAY am I waking up that early in the morning”. Ashley was in cheer that was keeping her really busy and I just didn’t want to do it. At that time she was starting to like a boy at church named Mike so she thought that she should go to seminary. I did a lot of praying about it and the only answer I felt I received was to at least try it before outright ruling it out.

So we started to make that early morning trek. At first it was pretty difficult and we were late most of the time. Then the girls from church weren’t too happy that Ashley was dating someone that they all liked and didn’t treat Ashley very well for a couple of weeks. To add to the misery she was going through, she also liked this looser kid named Chris from her school. If you looked up the definition of “player” in the dictionary it would have this kids picture.

He was dragging her around on a little string making her feel confused about the decision she made to date someone else. Chris had a girlfriend that went to another school yet was telling Ashley how much he wanted to be with her instead but it was “complicated”. He would text her and bug her on a daily basis until she finally broke up with the really nice and very good looking Mike from church.

She was on an emotional rollercoaster that finally came to a stop when she found out that Chris slept with one of her friends from school. During this time we found out that she was not doing well in her school work so she was put on probation with no friend, TV or phone privileges.

Because of this time away from the drama she seemed to be getting better. She was focusing on her studies, reading her scriptures and getting along with the family. As always with most teenagers it was too good to last. Now Chris is trying to talk to her again and who could blame him. Ashley is an absolutely gorgeous girl with a great personality. Unfortunately she just doesn’t realize that she is better than this kid that only wants her virginity to add to his arsenal.

Now she is complaining about going to seminary. At dinner last night we tried to give her a chance to plead her case and convince us that we should just give up on the daily inconvenience but all she could do is throw a fit every time we would question her reasoning. For example: She said that because she has to wake up so early it causes her to be too tired at school and that is the reason that she was doing poorly. We had a meeting with all of her teachers last week and they feel that the reason she is doing poorly (and she agreed) was that she talks too much in class. We simply asked her if she could go to bed earlier to get better rest and then reminded her of the real reason she was doing poorly. Then she said that she just doesn’t pay attention in seminary so what is the use of going. We told her that these were issues that she was creating for herself. If she would pick out her outfit the night before, go to sleep earlier and “CHOOSE” to pay attention then all these issues would go away.

It was at this time that she threw the fit and started in with the attitude. The same attitude that follows every time she is doing something that she knows is not good for her or wrong in any way. This is the attitude that over time we have learned to recognize. It lets us know that she is in a bad place with her decision making. The hard thing is that at her age, we need to let go and allow her to walk down that path and pray that she learns sooner rather than later.

I simply let her know that it was not going to be an argument. We wanted to know how she felt and was giving her a chance to approach a conversation as an adult. I told her that when she was ready to discuss it further without the attitude that we would be there but until we were not going to change anything. She was to continue to go to seminary and be miserable because she was “choosing” to be that way.

We went this morning and of course she over acted the tired bit basically throwing her form of a temper tantrum. I just ignored it. My thinking is that this situation is good for her. It is teaching her how to deal with controversy in a mature manner. I also believe that in the end it will just be a reminder of how important it is to hear Heavenly Father’s words on a daily basis. She will be able to experience the emptiness of refusing the gospel vs. the feeling of joy and blessings to be received when she changes her mind and comes back.

The Silver lining:

These are the struggles that we all go experience on a daily basis. When we are doing well we tend to fall away, not read our scriptures and skip out on beneficial church activities. This is when satan rears his ugly head and tries to takes over. I am so thankful for the atonement of Jesus Christ. His loving example teaches me to be patient and forgiving with my daughter in her struggles because he is patient and forgiving with me in mine.

Our adversity will strengthen us if we “choose” to allow it to.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Meaning

I met a woman named Ann when I lived in Pullman Washington. Both of our sons played on the same city football league so we got to know each other throughout the course of their games. Every game we would talk about our lives and recent events. We learned that our sons were in the same grade and our daughters went to the same high school together.
She had a way of captivating my attention with her fun and energetic expressions and choice of words. I quickly understood her energy when I found out her choice of profession as a radio announcer for a morning show in town. I had listened to her every morning on my way to work so it was really nice to put a face to such a familiar voice.
She made an impression on me because that woman had been through hell and back yet she still had that fun energy that made everyone around her smile. She loved (or I like to tell myself that she did) to hear about my hobbies and adventures because I always had a different one to talk about each time.
I told her about my skydiving, singing, rock climbing, sewing, crocheting, knitting, camping, painting.... the list goes on. I was never still, always trying something new. I cant even remember the new thing I was trying out the last time we talked. I just remember that she felt the need to give me a nick name that has stuck in my head ever since..."The Dabbler". putter, fiddle, toy, dally.
I thought about that name and how it applied to me over and over. The more I thought about it the more it fit. God blessed me with many talents that as a child I was not given the opportunities to nurture. Now as an adult I can finally express myself in more ways then I had ever dreamed possible and the ability to share these new adventures with friends is the best talent yet :-)