Decision Making 101: Failing Miserably

Do you ever feel that life is just a series of interruptions?  That’s how I felt today.  Let me give you a run down of the schedule.  Also keep in mind that I’m rotating seven loads of laundry.    Please feel free to skip if you get bored because the end gets a little more interesting.


7:00 a.m.  Scripture time and breakfast

8:55 a.m.   Take Debi to preschool

9:10 a.m.   Eat breakfast, get ready

10:15 a.m. Go to Davy’s junior high orientation

11:15 a.m. Go with the captain to get his cellphone ported into my line.

11:40 a.m.  Run into library so they can take off security device off Frozen.

11:45 a.m.  Pick up Deborah from preschool

12:05 p.m.  Ben texts me to tell me he’s bombed his chemistry test.  Needs support.  Like in a tutor.

12:10 p.m.  Ben keeps accidentally like five times.  Can’t even get the text through to tell him because he keeps calling me.

12:15 p.m.  Call school to get Ben excused.  Nobody answers so I leave a message.  Mystery of the decade:  Where are all the secretaries?

1:20 p.m.  Pick up Ben at school.  He’s not waiting for me.  Call and text him.  Doesn’t answer.  Call attendance office.  No one answers (surprise).  Call administrative office—fifteen minutes later, Ben comes out.

1:50 p.m. Drop off Ben to get braces off.  Talk to dentist about how many retainers we should buy at a discount ahead of time.

2:15 p.m.  Pick up Davy and Ricky from school.

2:30 p.m.  Neighbor texts to see if it’s ok if her son still plays with Ricky.  Yes.

2:40 p.m.  Throw cookies in oven.  Neighbor kids eat most of them.

3:00 p.m.  Go pick up Ben from braces.  Take him to his tennis match at the high school.

4:00 p.m.  Teach a bunch of cub scouts how to play tennis.

5:00 p.m.  Come home and get dinner in oven.  Laundry, laundry, laundry.  Tidy up house.

5:45 p.m.  Go pick up Ben from tennis match.  Listen to Ben gripe about how awful it is to have his braces off.

6:15 p.m.  Have dinner

6:45 p.m.  More laundry

7:30 p.m.  Practice piano with Ricky

8:30 p.m   Prayer

8:35 p.m.   Blog

That’s a day for you!  And I’m not complaining.  The truth of the matter is, it’s busy, but there is something satisfying about taking care of everybody.  I usually get up earlier to do yoga but daylight savings is of the devil.

But now we are getting to why I dropped the blog, and why I’m still scratching my head about whether I should start again.

Eleven months ago I went to a writer’s conference.  I pitched my young adult romance novel (about half way finished) to a well respected agent there.  She loved the idea.  She loved the title.  She told me to send it into her agency as soon as it was finished. (And literary agents are not easy to find.)  This good news came after lots of writing failures which is probably why it tasted so sweet.

The story is about a girl who lives in a chaotic family and wants to escape to Oxford, England. Some cute boys are involved.  And contrary to what my beta readers think, the story is not autobiographical:)  I know I run great risk at telling you my story’s premise as it has the makings of a runway bestseller, but hey, I trust you.

Then we moved and downsized which is actually worse than just moving.  I tore my hair out.   I blogged to stay sane. Things settled down, and I tackled the book again.  I signed up for a writer’s conference and scored a pitch session with an EDITOR.  (Better than agents since editors ultimately give the thumbs up on your book)  WHOSE FAVORITE GENRE IS ROMANCE NOVELS (hey! my book has TWO love interests)  AND WHO WORKS FOR ONE OF THE BIGGEST PUBLISHING COMPANIES IN THE COUNTRY.  Score, score, score.

I have a ten minute pitch session with her in two months.  My novel isn’t finished.  It’s considered bad form to go to a pitch session without a finished novel.  Yes, I did it last year, but I don’t really want to make a habit of it.

I organized a wickedly awesome book group and was writing and having a great time and everything, BUT.  This nagging feeling kept telling me that it wasn’t the right thing for me right now.  I fought  it for a long time. Finally, a few months ago, I sighed and took a breath and said a prayer that was pretty much,  “O-kay, whatever you say.”  And then a door opened that same week.  It wasn’t the door that seemed the most lucrative or tantalizing, but it felt like the right door.

Now it no longer feels right.   Well, maybe, it we tweak a few things here and there, it might work, and maybe it I start on it this next fall instead of right now–

Oh dear.  I’ve lost all credibility with you.  Well just imagine what it’s like being ME!  Never knowing what you’re doing from day to day!  It’s awful!

But this all comes back to the beginning of this post where I gave you a rundown of my hectic schedule.   (You thought this post had no direction, but I sure fooled you!)

Yes, sitting in a quiet room and writing about a silly girl who falls in love with an English boy is really quite enjoyable, but just WHEN IN THE WORLD AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE IT?  I do write–in the middle of the night, in the early mornings, and sometimes in the middle of chaos, but I worry that it’s pulling me away, mentally away from where I need to be right now.  The thing is, I’m nuts about my family.  Yes, we have our challenges, but I can’t believe how quickly this time is flying!  How quickly they are growing up!  I tell little Debi that she must stay five all of her life, and she just wrinkles up her nose and laughs at me.  But it’s not funny.

And several of my children seems to be going through an awkward transition right now.  (Yes, in that respect, they emulate their mother.)  And I can’t help wonder if I should be utilizing my writing time (what little I have) to help them–like interviewing a bunch of ADHD millionaires with my ADHD son so that he can see that ADHD is a gift.  Or interviewing the legion of top vloggers in this state with my other son who is vlogging.  While the newspaper doesn’t pay much for articles, it does give me access to some pretty amazing people.  Maybe I’m supposed to just keep blogging because even though I’ve getting zilch for it, it’s keeping me connected to my dear friends and helping me live with more awareness and purpose.

Whoops!  I’ve exceeded my 1000 word limit.  And I’m tired.  Come back tomorrow for more of decision making 101.

Have you ever struggled to make the right decision?

Any of you looking for some opportunities to do free lance editing, free being the operative word?


Fighting Off the Frumpy

When I was twenty, my roommates and I decided to “woo” the boys in some nearby condos.   So we fixed ourselves up, walked across the street, and borrowed two eggs from them.  We reapplied our make-up when we took them brownies as a thank you, and then a few days later, we got ourselves gussied up again to return the eggs.  And we were always short on eggs . . .


I even looked good in my pajamas. Now I just try to get out of my pajamas–

I look back at those pre-marriage pictures and what do I find?  My hair is always fixed.  I’ve always got on my make-up.   I’m wearing cute clothes.  Oh, and I’m quite a bit thinner.

My after marriage photos are a bit more dicey.  I must give myself a break because I was usually expecting a baby, wrestling a baby, or bouncing a baby who was on the verge of ruining yet another picture. My hair looks a bit more frazzled, my skirts look like they could house a circus, and my lipstick (or what’s left of it) is hanging on my dry lips for dear life.

Now that I’m out of baby stage, I’m trying a bit harder, but I still catch myself slipping.  Last Sunday, I went out on the back deck to read and enjoy the sun.  My blue comfy skirt was in the hamper so I pulled it out and put it on before going outside.  After laying out there for a few minutes and feeling uncomfortable in my fitted shirt, I came back in the house to put on a purple T-shirt.  Those clothes were great for several hours until I finally walked by a mirror.

This lax attitude doesn’t make sense. I love the captain way more than those silly boys across the street twenty years ago.  But why is it so easy to take him for granted?  I know that even forty year old men still like their wives to fix up.  Of course they’re not actually allowed to say this, but still: They think it.

Getting pretty is just one of those things I’m trying to juggle along with getting the kids out the door for school, sneaking in some exercise, loading the dishwasher, and fixing little Debi’s hair.  Sometimes the mascara happens and sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s harder getting dressed in the morning when no dress gives me the skinny waist I feel I deserve.  But that doesn’t mean I should throw in the towel.  The captain is much easier to please than I am and even a little effort can go a long way.

Sometimes the fixing up just happens late in the day.  I can’t tell you how many times our guitar teacher has shown up at 3:00 p.m. and I greet him with velcro curlers in my hair.  It’s highly embarrassing for both of us so you think I would learn.  (And you ask who still puts velcro curlers in their hair?  Apparently only women who are too lazy to round brush their hair, that’s who.)  Usually, I get the curlers out before the captain comes home, but then again, it all depends on how often I walk by a mirror.

But I’ve been thinking this needs to change and even made it top priority.  I was surprisingly how hard it was that first day with all sorts of interruptions, but I just kept curling my hair as my cellphone kept ringing. I’m at an age where I need the primer, the base, the eye cover, all of it, and it’s a real pain to apply it all.  But it’s going on my face, girls, and the Mac makeup is worth every penny.

I can’t help but recognize that I do feel better–all three days that I’ve been on my little spruce up program.  Speaking of really keeping the captain happy–we had a general authority (Mormon church leader) come and speak to us on Wednesday night.  His leaders told him he needed to kiss his wife ten times a day.  His wife piped in and said, “So far you’ve only kissed me four times today.” We all laughed when he looked at the clock and he realized he had only had a couple of hours to get his kisses in with his wife.

I’ve been giving the captain his ten kisses everyday, and that spices things up more than you might think.  I highly recommend it.  Happy Valentine’s Captain.  Love you to pieces.

What Single Guys Wish Single Girls Knew

Tired of guys that never tell you what they’re really thinking?  Well I got it out of them.  I interviewed fifteen singles guys, and they really opened up for me. Their answers were hilarious, insightful and sweet!  And yeah, that’s me twenty years ago.  When I was single.  2015/02/img_4436-0.jpg

1. We are really nervous when we ask you out.  

Stephen said how nervous he feels when he asks a girl out, especially if he doesn’t know the girl very well yet.  He also worries that the girl won’t like the activity he chooses to do.   “Sometimes we have a hard time coming up with ideas.  If they have a suggestion (for what to do on the date), they should offer it.”

Jeffrey says that he really appreciates it when a girl realizes how big a deal it is for a guy to ask her on a date.  “He doesn’t know the girl that well, he’s got to plan everything, spend money— guys hate to spend money.  A lot of things innately guys wouldn’t usually do—look nice, use deodorant . . . it’s a big deal.”

Jeffrey really appreciates it when a girl expresses gratitude, saying something like, “That was so nice of you.”  One girl even wrote him a thank you note after he took her on a date, and he loved that thoughtful gesture.  He wishes girls understood that dates can be expensive, and that while they want to date, they are also feeling the pressure of trying to make and save money so can they be good providers for their future families.

2.  We don’t want you to read too much into a first date.  

Several young men expressed concern that women read too much into a first date.  Michael explained, “If I go on a date, even if I go on a second date, I’m interested in finding out more about you.  It doesn’t mean I’m ready to commit.  I’ll be clear about when I’m ready.”

Lee said that he feels frustrated when girls freak out or get defensive when they’re asked out.  “If a guy asks a girl out, he just wants to get to know her.”

Edgar also shared this frustration.  “They act different on dates,” he said.  “They’re thinking, ‘Oh, this guy invited me because he’s testing me more or he’s trying me out.’  They act more formal.  That mentality changes the whole date and creates awkward moments.”

3. We are afraid of your friends. 

Josiah says how hard it is to approach girls who are clumped together.  He explains, “When they’re all crowded, it makes it hard to single one out—to ask [somebody] out while friends are watching.”

Reed also felt that the friend factor could be quite a hinderance.  “If they go to church, their friends are joined at the hip.”  Reed adds that girls don’t seem as nice when they stick so close to their friends.  He currently attends a church where there is a group of attractive girls that are very tight with each other.  “Nobody can penetrate the circle,” he says.

He also warned that if you have a couple of friends that are unfriendly, “people will project that feeling and image on to you.”  In other words, even if you are a really nice person, a couple of cold friends can make guys think that you are unfriendly too.

Another problem he sees is that girls often like to complain about guys with each other.  He’s known girls who are always airing their grievances with each other, complaining how hard dating is, and trashing the guys.  Because he was just considered just a friend, he was privy to some of these conversations, but it doesn’t mean he liked it.  He felt that these friends just reinforced all of their negativity instead of trying to see things in a more positive light. They become each other’s advocates and are quick to vindicate each other.   He adds that a parent might question their daughter if she’s had a bad date, asking something like, “Well, were you nice to him?” But a girl’s friends will often just make her feel like it was all the guy’s fault.  Reed sums it all up: “You live and die by your friends”

4.  We like it when you smile.  

Stephen explains.  “If they don’t smile, it’s hard to judge how your relationship is. If I’m smiling and you’re smiling back, that’s like a green light that I can ask you out.”

Josiah adds, “If they’re open, they’re talking, they’re smiling, that makes it easier.”

5.  Holding hands and kissing imply commitment.

Michael explained that he doesn’t take holding hands or kissing lightly.  He doesn’t appreciate when girls are physical with him if they are not seriously interested. He even had a girlfriend whom he almost broke up with because he learned that she used to make out with a guy friend that she wasn’t dating. She didn’t think it was a big deal to be engaged in casual kissing, but it really bothered Michael.

6.  We are attracted to women with goals.

Michael also thinks that girls don’t realize how important some things are to guys such as their interest in education.  He like girls with “some kind of passion they are pursuing.  Those are things that make a girl interesting.”

Jeffrey adds that guys likes girls that are independent and who have life goals.  “I ran into a girl [and] her plan was to find the right guy.”  Because that was all she seemed to be seeking, he wasn’t impressed.  The girl he’s dating now is independent and he likes that she’s “wanting to go places” and “has an idea of what she wants to do with her life.”

Kyle also felt strong about this.  He says it’s an issue that guys talk about all the time, but they don’t dare bring it up with the girls they date.  “When a girl actually cares about the gospel, it’s very attractive.”   He loves women that are driven and passionate.  He listens carefully when girls talk about their goals because while he plans on being the main breadwinner, he wants to know that his wife could take care of the children if something happened to him.   He wants the relationship to be an equal one.  “I want to be the best person I can be for her” and he wants her to be striving too.  “When a girl cares about the gospel, cares about herself, and cares about others, it’s just so attractive.”

6.  We may be feel a little awkward on our first date.  

Lee says, “Don’t be too critical on the first date.  We might be not talking enough or talking too much because we’re nervous.”  He thinks that girls often are quick to find reasons not to go out with a guy instead of giving the guy a chance.

Eric also acknowledges how hard a first date can be.  “I wish they knew that sometimes we’re a little awkward and nervous.  That’s not necessarily a reflection of who we are.”

Francisco also asks girls to give guys a chance.  “Don’t make conclusions about the guy right off from the first date.  Get to know him a bit.”

7.  Once we’ve asked you out, the ball is in your court.

Lee explains, “Even if a guy asks a girl out, the girl needs to put an effort to keep a conversation going and showing interest in a guy.  Otherwise he won’t ask her out again.  The guy already has an uphill battle.  There’s a lot of pressure.  He’s got to entertain her, have a good time.  It’s easier if [the girl] is trying to making it a success as well.”

Alexander also appreciates support when he takes a girl out.  “Respond more.  Don’t make him do all the work.  React positively.  Don’t act bored.”

Francisco said he just had a great first date.  He loved that the girl was friendly with him and asked him questions.  “She was proactive.  It was 50-50.  It was not just one side.”  He was really happy when she was honest at the end of the date and said, “Yeah, you’re awesome, I like you.  Let’s go out again.”

I have seven more things the guys shared with me for you tomorrow!  Share if you care!

K single guys!  What do you wish we knew about you?  And women, what do you still not understand about guys?

What It’s Really Like to Downsize

It’s time for a report.  We’ve been in our smaller house for six months now.

Six months ago we moved from a 4200 square foot home (plus 1000 sq. feet of attic space) to a 2200 square foot home.  Our garage space and yard space were also cut in half.


The move was pretty harry; we had to get our other house show ready which meant painting and repairing and staging and organizing and hauling out and cleaning and basically pretending like we had always taken good care of the house.

The house sold pretty quickly, and while we planned on moving up closer to my husband’s work, we experienced a major backlash from the kids.  They didn’t want to move up north, and they insisted that we move to our old house in Lindon.  (We were renting it out at the time.)  Adding to the challenge was that we really couldn’t find the right house up north.  I was feeling pretty tired so we just moved into our old house, hoping we could rally and find a better fit the next year.

And now we are here.  You would not believe how much stuff we sold, hauled off, gave away, posted on KSL, took to the dump, and just plain threw out before we finally got settled here.  We were still feeling pretty cramped, and I wondered whether we had made the right decision to move to such a small home.   Finally, I decided to just pretend that we would be here for the long haul, and I dug in for another aggressive haul off/sell off of our stuff.  It was tough because I had to get rid of some things that I really loved.


Our new house (and old house)

But the fact of the matter is, I don’t miss any of it.  I don’t even think about it.  And I loving opening a kitchen cupboard and finding everything where it’s supposed to be.  (We label everything as we are all too ADHD to remember on our own.)


I love this home.  I can’t believe I’m saying that, but truly, it’s been such a blessing for our family.  I’m not speaking for everyone when I say this—every family has different needs and different cleaning capabilities, but this is the right house for us.  Maybe not forever, but certainly for now.  Yes, it needs some repainting, and no, I don’t like our blue bathroom.  But then how much time do you really spend in the bathroom anyway?


Our library. The next step is to cut our books in half. Again. Almost everything I read comes from the library or my Kindle.

It’s easier to find things, easier to put things away, easier to catch my boys sneaking on the computer, easier to grab my keys, easier to file our papers, easier to drag Ricky up to the piano, easier to clean the house, easier to find out who’s doing their homework, easier to find out who’s skipping out on their chores, and easier to get our kids dressed in the morning.  I’m not telling any of you with large houses that you shouldn’t have one because I loved our big house too.  But I know myself.  And I know that I do better in a smaller house.

Is it perfect? No. We are a little bit scrunched at our kitchen table, but the captain made a bench to replace two of our chairs. I don’t like sharing our laundry room with a bathroom, but that just means I get most of the laundry done in one day.

And the benefits have been so much greater.  I LOVE that I know where my children are all the time in the house.  I LOVE the split level concept—that I can look from my kitchen down to the family room and say, “What’s that you’re watching?”  I love that Ben immediately changes the channel.  I love that it’s so quick and easy to clean up and get things put away.  I love that I don’t feel so tied up in my house.   I love that I have had more time to write and read.


I took this picture today. None of them knew I was taking it of them.

But the best part has been watching my children become closer.  They have to hang out together now.  There are no places for them to hide in the house.  Our family room has both a coffee table and a game table, and guess what the kids are doing all the time now?  Playing games!  It’s so nice to see them after school all gathered around the chess board.  (And believe me, we are not really a chess kind of family.)  It’s so nice to see Ben at the game table doing homework, even though he has a desk in his room.  It’s so nice to be able to break fights before they get grisley.

And then there’s all these unexpected perks.  Like finding Ricky playing monopoly by himself.  Or watching my boys start their own Lego blog where they create super funny music videos.  (It turns out that the best place to be out of mom’s reach is in their rooms where all they can do is read or play Legos.)  Check this one out.  I can’t believe they did it!


Do you like our chess table?  The captain made it.  He also made the entertainment center.  The chess table is my favorite piece in our entire house.  It just sits on our coffee table making it easy for the kids to start a game.


Eli is thinking hard. He is the self-proclaimed best player in our family. Anyone want to challenge him? The rest of us would appreciate it!


Davy and Ricky playing a fairly complicated game. (Or maybe I just don’t remember the name of it.)

The captain and the children have already told me that we won’t ever move again.  Ever.  So it looks like we might be here longer than I thought. And that’s OK with me.  But when my knees get bad, I’m going to insist on a rambler.

This Year’s Resolution: Read the Bible! Well, maybe not all of it this year . . .

I told you that I would sometimes tune in on Sunday and so here I am.


This year I have decided to take on the Bible.  Somehow I would like to involve my children although I haven’t figured out how yet.  This morning, as I was reading, Deborah asked to sit on my lap so I read to her as I held her.  We talked about how Adam cleaved unto his wife and what it means to cleave–to hug, to hold close, to cherish.  “It’s kind of like what we are doing now,” I explained.  She was completely on board with cleaving.  She always has been.  It’s kind of funny how children are just born knowing what they should be doing.

I’ve also decided to keep a little Bible journal.  I think it’s good to read scriptures with a purpose.  As I’m reading it, I’m wanting to know what the Bible teaches about families.  How can I be a better wife?  How can I be a better mother?  How can I be a better sister and a daughter?

So here goes.  The first verse of the Bible?  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

My footnotes in my scriptures say that in Hebrew, create also means shaped, fashioned, divine activity, organized, formed.  Isn’t the interesting?  That creation means organizing?

For years I have believed that the creative and the organized are at odds with each other.  The artist can‘t be tied down to rules or systems or structures but must be allowed to be live in chaos.  Boundaries cannot be formed.  However, the insight in this verse has changed my thinking so much so that I asked an artist about it when I interviewed her for the Deseret News.

Me:  In Genesis, when it talks about the Creation, “create” in Hebrew means to organize. And yet we see creative people and organized people on opposite ends of the spectrum. Is there a way that you have reconciled that as an organizer and a creator? How do you see that relationship?

Artist (Emily McPhie):   It rings so true to me. The first time I heard that, I thought, “Oh, that makes more sense of what I do.” I definitely feel like I am more of an assembler than a creator. You know, I take scrap and paint from it. I take pictures or pull images out of magazines or off the Internet and I piece them together. There’s a lot of organization to it, and I feel more that I’m piecing things together as opposed to just creating straight out of my head. I don’t pick up a brush, dip it in paint and start going.”


One of Emily’s gorgeous paintings. LOVE her work.

So artists create order out of chaos.  This revelation has been profound for me because I struggle with structure and with systems.  Organizing often feels like drudgery while the idea of “creating” sounds like so much more fun.

But we as women are co-creators with our Heavenly Father.  We bring children into this world and must organize a world for them with order, structure, and purpose.  We organize a home and we create systems as well—chore systems, bedtime routines, and rules with consequences.   We need flashes of inspiration as well as discipline to carry these out.  (You can guess what part I’m better at).

Which is probably why I loved artist, Emily’s answer when I asked her how she found balance.

EM: That’s the million-dollar question. What I get asked most, “How are you a mom and an artist? How do you do it all?” and I want to say, “Do I do it all?” I wish I could say I did. No, it’s hard, it takes a lot of really hard work. You have to really, really want it, because it’s enough of a job to keep your house clean and your children fed. That’s full time. And to make room for art, you just have to have your house in order, none of this crazy artist who’s just free. That’s unreal. That’s unrealistic. You have to have your house in order. You have to have chore charts or whatever it is that you need today to get things back into balance, and it’s always changing; it’s always something else. Take your sketchbook with you while you take your children to dance lessons. You have to figure it out: How can I make this work?

1006 Poise amid the Hoopla

Does this not say it all? The woman is balancing an entire circus on her head! Notice that she has a very strong neck!

I was just at a friend’s house for a church meeting and she has four beautiful baskets placed in front of her fireplace.   Some of the baskets had books or small articles of clothing in them.  I asked her what the baskets were for.  She explained to me that each child had a basket.  When she found things that belonged to one of her children, she put it in his basket.  (And I’m not being gender neutral here.  It’s always his when it comes to messes.)  When the children came home from school, she asked each child to put away everything in his basket.  My friend had created a system here—a system that invited both order and beauty into her home.

I want to strive to do more of this myself.  So as I read about each creative period, I’m reading it with the idea that I am also a co-creator.  What can the Lord teach me about creating a beautiful place for my family?

Have you read much of the Bible?  Want to give it a go this year?

What systems have worked well in your home?


So Long, Farewell.

Yes, I’m afraid it’s true.  I’m not showing up here very much anymore.  I’ve been meaning to tell you, but break ups are hard to do.


It’s not you.  It’s me.  I have precious few hours in my week to write.  Another door opened for me, and I’ve got to walk through it.  That just doesn’t leave as much time for us, does it?  I’ll try to drop a line on Sundays.  Wouldn’t mind hearing from you too.

It’s so weird because when I look at where people are who are reading my blog, they’re from all over the world.  Saudia Arabia, Ireland, Australia, China, but sometimes I think WordPress is just making that stuff up to keep me blogging.  But if WordPress is telling the truth, could you drop me a line?  I’m dying to get to know you.

Some last thoughts?  I know I’ve written a lot about being a mom of five.  Been going through some growing pains right now.  Running errands, making dinner, filing bills—yeah, I really don’t like any of that.  Do you?  Am I the only woman not built for this job?

I still do it all, but sometimes I get restless and antsy.  Sometimes I want to be a bigger part of the conversation out there. Then I have nights like tonight where what I’m doing all feels so right.

On Mondays, we have Family Home Evening, something our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon church) asks families to hold every Monday night.

We share a lesson, play a game, have a treat.  It’s all quite simple, but yet sometimes it’s hard.  Tonight went so wonderfully though.  Davy and the captain gave a lesson they had prepared on agency (free will).  We talked about why God allows evil to exist in the world.  It was funny because at that moment, it didn’t seem like evil did exist.  I felt like we were protected, safe from it—at least for that moment.  My children are going to have to face a lot of challenges in this life, but hopefully they will remember these sweet times together and that will give them strength.

We then played a fun game called Timeline and as we sat there gathered around that little coffee table, and as the children were laughing, I couldn’t help but think, “This is right.  This is where we are supposed to be.  This is what we are supposed to be doing.”

We were so peaceful with one another which is so —unlike us.  We are like any other family with our share of fights and disagreements and whininess (I’m the biggest whiner of us all), but I really felt like the Lord was with us tonight.  Everyone was so sweet with each other and everything felt so peaceful, and I just wanted to write about it before I forgot about it.

When are your best family moments?

Again, I would love to hear from you.  If you have questions or comments, e-mail me at

13 Signs That You’re Getting Older


1.  While other people made New Year’s resolutions to spend less time on social media, you are resolved to learn how social media works. 

You finally understand FaceBook only to find out that it is no longer hip.  You try to ignore the correlation between your mastery of the network and its sudden nosedive.  You finally start using Instagram only to find it overloaded with pictures of a skinny chic who’s always eating ice-cream.  And you don’t like her.


  2. Your kids don’t like you anymore.

Your five-year-old may still still smitten with you, but your fifteen-year-old has to keep explaining to you why you’re the lamest parent on the block.  His friends get more allowance.  His friends stay up later.  His friends have cooler video games.  You just nod at him and tell him to take out the trash.

 3. You go to your 10 year high school class reunion only to realize that you are at your 20 year high school class reunion.

You cannot believe it.  It’s been twenty years since you thought you were all that–slamming locker doors, strutting down the hall, flirting with the teacher’s aide so you could get another day to turn in your late assignment.  But now here you are–eating cold chicken at an elks lodge, trying to remember people’s names, insulted that so many people seem to have forgotten yours.  You look with horror at your classmates that look so old and ask the younger looking ones if they’re using Botox.  You meet your old boyfriend’s wife.  She graduated in 2011.

4.  You have an expensive exercise bike in your bedroom which you never use.

You have an expensive exercise bike in your bedroom which you never use.  You also have a weight set, a dozen Pilates and yoga tapes, a calorie counter on your phone, and you wonder why you lose your phone so much.  Every few years you sell all of your equipment at a yard sale.  Then you buy better and more expensive equipment, but you don’t use that either.

5. Sandra Bullock is your champion.

You love everything Sandra Bullock does and every movie that she’s in.  You love that she’s so real and funny and that she jokes that she’s getting old at the Golden Globe awards.  You think she’s your best friend even though you two have never actually met. You start a fan blog for her and connect with a lot of other middle-aged women.  The lot of you take a bus to her ranch in Texas and hope she’ll invite you in for dinner.  Unfortunately, she’s off in Fiji with her new twenty-something boyfriend. And then you cry.

6.  You can’t understand why Bilbo Baggins left the shire.

You wonder why in the world Bilbo left his perfect little hole in the ground.  You love his round door, the fine rich woodwork, his pantry stuffed with hams, breads, and fine cheeses.  You love his pipe even if you’ve never smoked one before, and you hum along when the dwarves sing their middle earth songs.

But you can’t understand what Bilbo was thinking when he left on such a ridiculous adventure.  He’s probably already got the home paid off for crying out loud.  You don’t bother to go to the second hobbit movie because you’re not going to get to sit by his cozy fire and dragons give you headaches.

7. Your friends start calling you middle-aged. 

Your friend calls you middle-aged, and when you tell her you don’t appreciate it, she reminds you that she is the same age as you are.  Given that she looks ten years younger and weighs ten pounds less than you do, this does not make you feel better.

8. You opt for the Alaskan cruise instead of the Caribbean cruise

You know one thing, and that is that your husband does not need to see a bunch of women in bikinis.  You like that your tour agents tells you to bring lots of layers–sweaters, jackets, boots and grateful that these very layers will hide that fact that you plan on eating lobster, filet mignon, and baked Alaska every night of your trip.

You’d much rather be stuffed on a tour bus and see glaciers than swim with sting rays.  You also like that almost everybody on the ship, including your husband, has gone to bed by 10:30 which for the first time in years makes you a party animal. You don’t know what to do with yourself so you push buttons in the elevator for a half an hour, going up and down, up and down, until the lobster still sitting in your stomach tells you it’s time to call it a night.

9. You buy expensive skin care products but you forget to put them on.

Sorry dear, but Mac and NuSkin do you no good if they are put away in your drawer.  The problem is you don’t remember which drawer you put them in.  Your wrinkles are duking it out with your creeping dementia and unfortunately, your dementia is winning.

10.   You read teen fiction because it makes you feel young again.

You like that these young heroines have so much physical energy and can climb trees, jump over walls, and run like the wind.  You opt to read about these feats of strength instead of actually doing them yourself.  You envy the girl because everyone appreciates that she just saved the world when no one appreciates that you just cleaned your kitchen.   You don’t understand how so many boys are in love with her when she’s so mouthy and opinionated.  It’s certainly not working for you.

11. You are offended by a lot of teen fiction because parents get no respect.

While you love your teen heroes, you can’t believe how much they talk back to their parents.  You wonder why the heroine is so utterly awesome and the parents are such total losers.  You wish she wouldn’t use bad language, get tattoos, sneak into boys’ bedrooms, and storm off on her parents when they’re giving her a first class lecture.  You also wish she’d clean up around the house a little more.  You’re upset that the parents have to be killed off or at least gotten out of the way so that the heroine/hero can actually grow up into a fine human being.  What?!!

12.  If you do venture out into something athletic you need to bring a lot of extra equipment.

Did you remember to bring your knee pads?  Your back strap?  Your neck brace?  If you didn’t, you better bow out of this basketball game.  Even if you did remember to bring it all, you might still consider your medical deductible and the deductibles of those around you.  After all you’re barely on board with this game as it is, and the last thing you want to do at the end of the night is fork over a thousand dollars for a broken leg.  With that kind of money, you could buy you two snow blowers, which would not only save you lots of shoveling time, but also reduce your lower back pain.

13.  PBS is your favorite channel.  Hands down.

Enough said.  Oh, and you’re just dying to go on that Viking River Cruise.

How did you score?

0-3 You’re still a baby!

4-6  You’re o-kay now, but you might want to hit the gym.

7-9   Give the Caribbean a go.  Try scuba diving with sharks, go parasailing, and swim from St. Thomas to Antigua.  This is your last chance before arthritis sets in.

10-14  Congratulations!  You now can get the senior citizen discount?

What signs have got you worried that you’re getting older?