Thursday, March 3, 2016

Do NOT Swallow Gum!

1) Good friends that offer to bring us dinner out of the blue.  So sweet!
2) Old childhood friends, actually my brother from another mother is more like it)  now Facebook friends, who share funny things that make me laugh when I'm having a rough day.  Thank you!  
This is what he shared....

Funny, Funny!
It's been a wild past few days, to say the least.  It's been frustrating, but some things cannot be prevented, they just happen.  In the grand scheme of things we are all safe and that is all that matters.
I had an interesting conversation with my oldest daughter last night.  We seem to be doing that a lot lately.
She has had a lot happen over the past few days. 
Her job that was going to start at the beginning of this week has been postponed for a month or two.  So, now she is worried about her finances.  Which I would be too.  She is searching high and low for a job that would start sooner, but ultimately, if it comes right down to it, I know she will take anything just to be able to pay her bills.  She would go back to retail work, do fast food if she has to, or whatever it takes.  That's just the kind of girl we have raised!
That being said, it's so frustrating because here is a girl that has a degree and she is struggling. 
 Grant it, it's only an Associates, but she will graduate with her Bachelor's degree in December.  She is very close to being done for a while, but plans to go right back to get her Master's as soon as possible. 
 As I have mentioned before, this girl is determined!!! 
She will reach her goal no matter what comes her way. 
Kevin and I paid for her first year of college and after that this girl has paid for everything else and only taken out one, very small student loan. 
She knows how to be frugal. 
She knows how to find a way, no matter what! 
This is my child that has always been determined to do it on her own. 
I'll never forget how much I struggled with her when she was a toddler just to get her dressed in the morning. 
She didn't want me to help her get dressed. 
She didn't want me to do her hair. 
She wanted to do it all herself.  It was so hard trying to get to work on time each and every day when she was so determined to be independent at such an early age. 
 That determination is what has made her work so hard to get through school, even if it was all on her own. 
She did it! 
I'm proud of her, and at the same time, I wish we could have paid for all of her schooling. 
I hate that she has struggled so much, yet at the same time, it is that struggle that makes me so proud too and believe it or not, what other admire in her!  (Hmmm!!)
I also believe that when your children have to work for something they want, and when things are not shielded from them, and they have to work hard to get what they want, it means so much more to them and they do not take anything for granted. 
It promotes gratitude, a strong work ethic, and a drive that no one can side track, even if it does take them longer to get it done. 
That being said, this wedding has been the same kind of thing. 
We would love to be able to pay for everything, but we just can't and don't have it. 
Danielle received school money and her tax return, and that is how she is able to afford this. 
Not mine.  Not Kevin's. 
And certainly, Not yours either!!!
So, we know the financial sacrifices she is making just to have this reception. 
In fact, Kevin and I both sat her down on several separate occasions, before we even started down the road of a wedding reception, to ask her if she wanted to not have a big reception and just take the money and go on a nice trip with her new husband after they get married, or use the money to put down on a house, or buy a new car or just get her car fixed. 
She said she wanted the reception and to be quite honest, it would have killed me to not be able to throw the "big party" for her when she got married. 
 Getting married is always something every girl looks forward to, but planning the reception has been my dream from the moment she was a little girl, and it is the same for each of my girls. 
 Lexi, that means you! 
I know not all mothers look forward to planning the reception/wedding for their children, but I happen to like it. 
 It's something I stress out about, but love doing at the same time.
  So, having that conversation with my daughter about NOT doing the reception was a big deal for me, but I wanted her to know she didn't have to do things just because it was something I wanted. 
I was trying to be realistic and not place demands on my child that would burden her.
   She had choices and she was not obligated to live out my so called fantasy or big dream. 
It wouldn't have been easy, but I could have given this whole thing up, for whatever she wanted because it was totally HER decision.  Not mine to make!! 
 In fact, when Lexi and I talk about her future wedding/reception, she says she doesn't want the big party and jokes about not even caring.  (Talk about the figurative dagger to my heart!  LOL) 
So, with Danielle's budget and my talents we are forging forward and trying to make this happen for Danielle. 
It also means that since I have been looking forward to this for so long, I am enjoying the process, the stress, and I want to do as much as I can on my own, but I'm also realistic about that too. 
I know I will need to reach out and ask for help. 
It's will happen, but for now we are okay. 
In a couple of weeks when we are knee deep in the executing of the plans, we will have lots for everyone to do. 
At the same time, I like being able to do this. 
This is something I can do and no financial struggle can take away my creativity, even if it does mean we have to find new ways to reach our goal.
It hasn't been easy not being able to just write the fat check to fund things for my daughter, just like it wasn't for my parents when I got married and my father had lost his job. 
But somehow, my mother was able to pull off a huge wedding cake (she is a cake decorator), decorations, wedding invitations, and everything else that goes with planning a wedding. 
To this day, I do not know how she did that. 
I sit in amazement at how she pulled that off. 
Grant it, we only served cake and punch at my reception, but I didn't care. 
I knew my parents were doing the best they could, and I appreciated that. 
I also remember when I was the only one working having to help them from time to time. 
I didn't make much money but I could help when they needed it and looking back I wish I would have been a little more mature about it and would have helped out more. 
I didn't always know all of my parents financial struggles but I wasn't stupid. or blind.
  I could see when they were struggling even though I probably placed outrageous demands on them as a kid or teenager wanting new clothes and things. 
To be honest, I think I was a brat growing up. 
 I was so mean sometimes to my mother. 
 I shouldn't have been like that.
She too was doing the best she could and to my surprise even granted some of my outrageous demands.
   As I got older I started to understand, and I didn't want to be a burden for my parents and tried to pay my own way for things and pay my own bills. 
At the same time, Kevin has shared some of the struggles his parents went through trying to run a struggling business and maintain a household and keep three boys clothed, fed, and get them through missions. 
OR deal with a husband at one point in the hospital for a long time with kidney cancer. 
 It wasn't easy. 
They had really good years and they also experienced really rough ones too. 
I remember a story my mother in law shared about stressing over bills and my father in law seeing her struggle over their financial situation saying, "Oh, I know you will find a way, you always do."  AND SHE DID! 
Those words from my father in law were not comforting at the time. 
 She felt the weight of the world on her shoulders at that time and experienced a lot of sleepless, tearful nights. 
To this day, I have no idea how she managed two sons on a mission at the same time, the business struggling, and keeping their household bills paid, OR dealing with a husband with kidney cancer at one point as well. 
She said they ate a lot of beans during those times. 
She also said, it was really hard, and she had to rely on her boys for support, help, and even strength.  As well as the support of good church members too.
So, my point for saying all of that our parents did not shield us from their financial and medical struggles. 
Kevin and I knew when our parents were having tough times, and we raised our children the same way. 
We didn't try to over burden them, but we shared information to help our children understand. 
 In fact, I remember a time when Curtis, who didn't really get it at the time said to me, "Mom, all you have to do is just write a check." 
That is what started the conversations of explaining how a checking account worked at the young age of 8 years old. 
He didn't quite get that you had to have money in your account to write a check and not having it, and writing a check, could cause a whole other kind of problems for you. 
Kids say the craziest things sometimes. 
 We had an open dialog with our children. 
We also spent a lot of time driving to games, driving to school, driving home from school, driving to mutual and church activities, as well as discussions in our home about choices and morality issues, as well as sharing our testimonies quite often with our children.  Teaching moments.
I didn't want our children to grow up wondering if their parents actually had a testimony. 
It was some of our struggles, callings, service projects, friend choices, and all kinds of things that brought about these teaching moments in our home. 
 Kevin and I believe that it is because of our struggles as a family, and because of our taking the time to talk about these things with our children that they NEVER get into huge amounts of trouble as kids, or caused frequent visits from law enforcement or any visits that matter to a police station. 
We believe that this is why our children have testimonies of their own today and worked to receive their own testimony of the Book of Mormon at young ages too! 
Sure, we all have moments when we struggle, but when the time came for our children to make choices like serving missions, it wasn't even a question in their minds of should I serve?
  The only question was how are we going to make this happen?? 
 So, yes, we struggled. 
We struggle now. 
AND I'm sure we will continue to struggle. 
We don't know exactly why this happens, it just does. 
 But, we also know that it is because of these things that football coaches have announced to their entire team and their parents at a end of the year banquet that they wanted an entire team of young men like our son Kyle because he came to practice every single day, he worked hard, he didn't complain, he encouraged his teammates, and he never gave up even though he never turned out to be a star player. 
He eventually started, but he had to work hard for that.  He spent a lot of time riding the bench. 
It is also these things that have brought about a young man that made an awesome assistant scout master when he got home from his mission. 
He learned those things from watching and working with his father. 
These are also the kinds of things that made our current missionary son turn to his Heavenly Father in fervent prayer in a church parking lot. a few years back, to ask for help to get out on his mission. 
It's also the same things that got our youngest through her open heart surgery and will get her through any of the current struggles she may be having. 
  So, no we do not shield our children from our struggles because we know that these are faith promoting, life changing, humility building, character building, hard work ethic making moments. 
So, to expect us to NOT to want these things for our children would be like expecting our Heavenly Father to send us down to this earth and ask that they not have to struggle and work to someday be able to return to live with Him! 
We all know that that is a ridiculous request because most of you are members of the LDS church and we ALL know why we are here. 
To gain a body and be tried and tested, so we can return to Him.
  It's as simple as that. 
 So, to judge us for not wanting the same kinds of things for our children is simply ludacrous!!!  
Remember these children are merely on loan to Kevin and I, because ultimately we do not own them....they are our Heavenly Father's children. 
We were just given the awesome responsibility to teach them and raise them to be everything He expects them to be while they follow His plan FOR THEM!!!! 
I will admit, your statements, comments, judgments do rattle us. 
I'm not even going to lie. 
 They do. 
BUT, in the grand scheme of things, your opinion is just that, an opinion. 
 I refuse to apologize. 
 After all, this life is not a drill. 
It's called on the job training! 
Enough said!! 
I'm stepping down off the soapbox now. 
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