Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Revelation for a Blockhead

I had an interesting experience with revelation today.  For a few months, I've had some nagging issues so finally decided to go to the doctor and get evaluated.  As we discussed options, there were two very different classes of drugs that we could try.  As a pharmacist, I know quite a bit about drugs and made an educated choice for Option A.  As the day went on and I further considered risks vs benefits, likely side effects, and other factors, I started to feel uneasy about my choice.  But, the doctor had already sent the prescription to the pharmacy and I didn't want to bug the medical office by requesting Option B.  (Sheesh...stop being a people-pleaser to your own detriment!)  I still didn't feel good about it and the moment I got in my car to drive to the pharmacy, I had the thought of, "Don't do this.  It isn't worth it.  You know the side effect profile."  Again, I thought "It is such a hassle to change it."  (Although, really, it isn't!) and "It's just a few months trial and see how it goes."  (Why am I such a blockhead sometimes?)  When I got to the pharmacy, they explained that they had not received a prescription for me.  The light bulb finally turned on.  "Oh...I'm not supposed to take this medication."  I guess I'll "bug" the medical office tomorrow and request a prescription for Option B.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking of the fact that I am allergic to a drug in the Option A Class.  My doctor and I discussed this and how I believe that it is probably an excipient (inactive ingredient) that I was allergic to and not the medication itself.   Besides, I know what to look for, (a progressively worsening rash) and to stop the medication if that happens.  The somewhat weird thing is that medication allergy is my only real allergy.  Cats make me sniffly and sometimes the seasons get me sneezing a little but as far as a true-blue allergy, that is the only one that I have.  Maybe that allergy was Heavenly Father's way to make sure that I never took that class of medications.  They main side effect issues are cardiovascular - stroke, pulmonary embolism, etc.  Maybe there are some other unknown factors in my life that would make me more susceptible to those and taking that medication would increase that risk.  Who knows if that's it but it is interesting to consider.  We know that Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Heavenly Job Chart

Dear LJ,

Yesterday morning, The Lion had meticulously set up a complicated game.  He proudly announced he was finished and wanted us to look at what he’d done.  Then, just to be mean, you came over, knocked it all down and stole a piece so that The Lion wouldn’t be able to set it up again.  The Lion screamed and you triumphantly shouted, “It’s my game!”

A few minutes later, we got in the car to go to school.  I reprimanded you severely and reminded you of answers you gave in FHE the night prior about the prophet asking us to be kind and how that is especially true in our family.  I wanted to make sure that you felt loved and appreciated and we talked a bit more about the following things but I wanted to record them here as well.

Buddy, I love you more than you can even understand and I want to keep you forever.  Do you get that?  I want us to be a forever family and even more, I want you to want that too.  Heavenly Father needs us, he needs you.  He doesn’t need just any 6-year old boy, he needs you.  There is a big, huge job chart in heaven and your name is all over it, kiddo.  You probably picked some of the jobs and you were probably assigned some others.  When I tell you not to do things or ask you to do other things, it isn’t to be mean to you or make it so you can’t have what you want.  I am trying to help you become the person Heavenly Father needs you to be, the person who can do those jobs and fulfill those callings.

I know that is true.  I know that Heavenly Father chose you for those jobs because of characteristics that you have.  Some of those characteristics push my buttons but I know they are there by design and are required for the obligations and opportunities you will have in this life.  You are an absolutely amazing young man and I know that you are going to do astounding things in this life.  You are ridiculously bright – absorbing all sorts of knowledge and retaining all the facts.  Even though you are only six (right now), you are one of the most altruistic people that I know.  Teachers and others have commented on your inherent ability to see ways to serve others before they even know they are needing help.  You are kind and sweet and, even at a young age, have an ability to recognize love languages and speak to people using theirs.  For example, in general, when Dad comes home he gets tackled by a tickle monster with a shout of “DAD!!!” but when I come home, I get a soft “Mama” and a gentle but tight hug.

I know that as you stay strong, this life will take you to great heights and make you an instrument in the hands of God.

I love you to the moon and back times infinity!

Love,

Mom

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Quick Thought: Educational Direction

We first moved to our current city when LJ was just a few months old.  I'm a bit of a planner so wanted to scope out school options.  (Doug may say that I get a bit obsessed with planning things out WAY in advance.)  It started innocently enough, just looking at college-going rates in the local schools, etc.  There are a plethora of charter schools here and within one subdivision there can easily be 4 different elementary schools that kids attend.  Based on the college statistics, the charters definitely seemed to be a better option but I still felt unsettled.

A few years later, I had a coworker whose kids attended a different type of private school.  (I'm not going to talk about it publicly for the sake of our family's privacy but, if you want to know, you can message me.)  The more I learned about the methods and curriculum, the more I wanted to know.  We ended up at a different school than my friend but a similar style.  As we learned more about the school, I started to feel settled.  However, it was not convenient - about 25 miles away - and it would really stretch our budget.  It felt right at the time so we started moving forward.

When we first started attending there, I remember having driven to the school then to work then to school then home and needing to go back to the school for a meeting after dinner.  I thought, "I must be crazy.  Why not just go to the public school down the street or the charter school less than a mile away?!?"  It wasn't a prayer, it was just a thought - a frustration at the end of along day.  Unexpectedly, the Spirit intervened.  I felt an impression that it wasn't crazy and it was exactly what needed to happen.  In the years since then, we have absolutely fallen in love with this school, it's faculty and staff and the ways it has benefited both boys.  The commute can still be frustrating - especially during the ridiculous winter we've had.  We are hoping to move in the somewhat foreseeable future (that isn't vague at all) and one of our key determinants of location is distance to the school.  (For me, when people ask about the idea of moving out of state, the school holds us here even more than the dread of taking another set of board exams.)

The other day, I had the opportunity to attend an informational session about their elementary programs.  Even though we wouldn't dream of leaving the school, with both boys there, that financial stretch has gotten a bit more painful.  As I listened to the presentation, I was grateful for a considerate Heavenly Father who again, without my specific request, gently let me know that this was in fact the right place for the boys.

I know Heavenly Father is involved in the intricacies of our lives.  I know that school choice can be a very big deal - it will shape and mold friendships and characteristics that have the potential to change lives.  I know that Heavenly Father loves my boys more than I do and he knows what is best for them - even which school they attend.  I appreciate him reminding me that He's in charge and that He's definitely right here with me and involved.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Quick Thought: Our Song

"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" has always held a special place in my heart.  If you can have an "our song" with deity, that is mine.  So many times, that song comes on and I immediately know how much I am loved and, frequently, revelation just starts to flow.  (Hmmm...maybe I should listen to it more often.)  There is a very distinct moment on my mission when it came on.  I vividly remember the way the leaves were blowing around the freeway as we got off on the Hopkins Road exit in Richmond, VA.  That morning, I'd been struggling to know where I should go and what I should do after my mission.  (You may recall that, when I decided to serve, I didn't have family support and I really didn't have a "home."  I hadn't lived where I grew up in over 7 years and would have no reason to go back to where I was living at the time in Rochester, NY.)  I wondered if I was a competent missionary and was doing what the Lord would have me do.  In that moment, listening to that song, I knew it would be ok and the spirit helped me to know that I was exactly where I was supposed to be - it had been foreseen, though not be me.  I was supposed to be in that green Chevy Malibu getting on Hopkins Road to visit Enrique and Suzy.  I had the thought, "Tell me, Lord, how could you have known for so long that I would be here in this place?  One year ago I wouldn't have guessed it and two years ago I knew nothing of the church."  The answer came, "Anne, I know you and I know your heart.  I knew that your heart would lead you to this place because it is where I need you to be.  I knew that you would make the choices that would allow you to become an instrument in my hands."

As we walked into church today, I saw my friend, Trina, and she had a copy of the music for this song in her hand.  With hope in my voice, I asked if she would be singing that song today.  She confirmed that she was.  I told her it was my favorite and I was excited to hear it and went and found my seat.

My boys were particularly cuddly today and were each trying to claim a spot leaning on me.  It felt good.  I felt loved.  We listened to the speakers and then Trina got up to sing.  As the music started, I was brought back to that moment in Virginia when my station in life, my path at the time and my competency in that path, was confirmed.  Lately, my friends, I'll be honest and say that I have really been struggling with feeling competent - at just about anything.  I've been feeling that everything I try seems to fail in one way or another and I've wondered if I am in the right place, if I am doing the right things, how I am blessed with these great little boys and an amazing husband that sometimes I take for granted, am I messing things up and limiting the progress of my kids by decisions I make.  But, sitting there today, listening to that familiar hymn and holding those two amazing boys, the Spirit washed over me.  Again, it let me know that I am exactly where I was supposed to be.  Again, it had been foreseen, though not by me.  Those boys need me as their mom - not any of the other "super mom" friends that I have.  Me.  They need me, my flaws and my awesome strengths to raise them to be what the Lord would have them be.  I am exactly where the Lord needs me right now.  And, oh how I needed that confirmation.

I am grateful for inspired musical numbers (even if she had just sung the same song a few months ago).  I am grateful for having an "Our Song" with the Holy Ghost.  Maybe I really should listen to it more often.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Quick Thought: Phone Tag

I was missing Elder Scott a little during Conference this past weekend.  I listened to one of his talks this morning.  In it, he says, "Why does the Lord want us to pray to Him and to ask? Because that is how revelation is received."  That got me thinking a bit.

Two of my closest friends - other than Doug, I would say they are my best friends - rarely call me.  It is always me that needs to initiate contact.  And, usually, when I do call them, it isn't for me to be able to talk but is because I want to get their take on something or find out what is going on with them.  They almost always say something that "fills my cup."  If I don't reach out to them, I don't receive that boost, that "revelation" to help along my way.

In this metaphor, I'm not saying that Heavenly Father doesn't ever "call" us.  Of course he does when there is a message that we need.  (Now, do we answer the phone?  That's a whole different conversation.)  But, it is in our reaching out to him - putting some effort into it - that we get the extreme blessing of being able to get his take on things in our life.

As an aside, lately LJ has been talking about how he doesn't necessarily need to pray about what he grateful for because "Heavenly Father already knows."  I just thought of this so will have to bring it up - as parents, we know our kids are grateful for many things in our day to day life.  For example, we know they are grateful for dinner (at least if it is pizza or chicken nuggets and does not include a vegetable).  But, more than knowing, doesn't it mean a bit more when they actually say, "Thank you for dinner."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Quick Thought: Changing Routes


Lately I spend a lot of time in the car - on average, 100-120 miles a day. (Yes, we need to move.) Being in the car is one of my least favorite places to be. This may sound contradictory to some of my habits in a past life. Before I was married, when I needed time to think or work out a problem, I used to go for (long) drives. I no longer do that. It isn't because I no longer have problems but because it isn't convenient to hop in the car and drive to Nephi and back at 1am. Nowadays, the number of minutes I spend in a car seems to directly correlate with the amount of stress I feel.  Every minute seems like wasted time that could be spent doing something more productive.  (If anyone has cures for that stress-inducing thought process, please share!)

This morning, we got out the door 5 minutes later than I'd wanted to. Usually, we go a more scenic route with seemingly more polite fellow travelers - (Shout out to Middleton!) - but the risk of getting stuck behind a tractor (as evidenced above). Since we were late, I felt we needed to take the faster route. However, as we went to turn on the road going that way, a school bus turned in front of us. And...that school bus stops at a stop with a lot of kids - at least 5 minutes stopped and backed up traffic with stressed out drivers in the aftermath. I screamed and slammed my hand on the steering wheel and decided to continue with the slower, more peaceful route but risking being late. (Remember, I'm stressed out...hence the extreme overreaction to something so trivial...and being late is one of my biggest pet peeves.  I get certifiably crazy about it.)

I cooled down after a couple of blocks and got to thinking, trying to find a silver lining.  I remembered back in high school, a friend talked about how sometimes the slow person driving in front of you may be a little divine intervention to slow you do and help you to avoid an accident or some other pitfall in your commute.  Maybe, just maybe, if we had gone that other route something bad would've happened - the sun glare was particularly bad this morning and that route definitely has more pull outs and merging traffic that can be difficult when you can't see.

Are there other times in life where we have a particular route in mind and then some deal-breaker appears.  And maybe that deal-breaker is a manner in which the spirit to works to "hedge up the way."  For example, you are pursuing a new job that seems perfect but then some detail comes out that there is just one little part of the schedule that will not work for your schedule.  No matter how you juggle or what you do, you can't get it to work and need to withdraw your application.  Maybe that job wasn't meant to be.  Or you want to have a baby but it isn't working out so you decide to pursue a residency, then after getting fully on board for that route, you find out that you are pregnant and you are so confused by all the re-direction in life.  I can't think of a personal example, but I'm certain this can happen with our kids and extracurricular activities.  It can be so frustrating to have to change directions but sometimes it is because it is what Heavenly Father would have us do.

As I was getting in the car (feeling late again) to go for school pick-up, I realized I wanted some "good" music rather than the mumbo jumbo on the radio.  My phone doesn't work on the aux jack and the iTouch wasn't charged and the iPod nano only had kid-friendly songs and biochemistry podcasts.  I decided it was worth the 45 seconds to run upstairs and grab a couple of Mercy River CDs.  The song "Blessings" came on and I realized that it went right along with what I was thinking about it.  This stressful and difficult time that we are going through is to help teach us some resilience and help us develop talents and traits that will continue to help us weather the storms of life.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Training Wheels

All summer LJ has been cruising around on his bike with one (squeaky) training wheel.  Aside from alerting everyone that he is coming, the squeaky wheel has been a convenient way for him to practice not having the wheel touch the ground and balancing with it up off the ground.  I was telling him today that I thought he was ready to just take the training wheel off but he was hesitant.  Then, while trying to jump over a 4x4 piece of wood, he knocked the training wheel up and didn't notice at first. Again, I asked about taking the wheel off and he said, "Just let me practice a bit more."

I let him practice and then said, "Wouldn't it be a neat surprise for Dad if, when he got home, you were cruising around without your training wheel!?"  He agreed. As we were taking the training wheel off, he kept saying, "Dad is going to be so proud of me!"

We removed the wheel and he took off down the street saying, "I've got this!" I ran into the house to grab the camera. By the time I got back out, I couldn't spot him but saw The Lion stopped near the fire hydrant.  I took a few more steps and saw him sprawled on the sidewalk with the bike on top of him. He rolled over and looked at me.  Then, he smiled, waved and said, "I'm alright. I've got this!"  He got up and started racing up and down the street again. Ever since he was a toddler, his resilience has inspired me. He is such a tough kid! There was another fall but he popped right back up, dusted off his pants and started going again. "Mom, I'm doing it! Dad is going to be so surprised! Mom, I can even do sharp turns! Watch!" He mastered it so fast! I was so proud of him.

(For the sake of the grandparents, I feel the need to preface this next paragraph with the statement that nothing bad/permanent happened.)

Remember the aforementioned piece of wood that knocked the training wheel up? It is opposite the mailbox and so, when avoiding the mailbox, it is easy to hit the piece of wood. He did just that and fell hard, smashing his leg and ribs between the wood and his bike. He didn't wave and smile and pop right back up. I walked over and asked if he was ok. He winced and said, "Yea...I got my leg stuck for a minute but I'm alright." He started walking around a bit and you could tell the leg hurt. He explained that he wanted to take a break for a little bit but definitely wanted to show Dad his new skills when Dad got home.  Sure enough, Doug hadn't even gotten into the garage and LJ was jumping out the door to strap on his helmet and get going.

We were both so proud of him as he cruised up and down the street. Thinking back on it this evening, I was surprised when I realized that I was most proud of him for getting back up each time he fell down. I can't help but wonder if it is the same with our Heavenly Parents. I know they are happy with us when we are "cruising along" and progressing but is it a stronger happiness when we get back up after getting knocked down? During those times that our spiritual training wheels have been taken away - a new calling, a new job, an unexpected move, a faith-shaking trial - do we get a little "You've got this!" message that helps us to believe "I've got this! I'm doing it!"? Sometimes we do and sometimes I think we don't - we have to forge ahead and find strength on our own. But, I think that is part of the "no training wheels" spiritual learning process.