Thursday, July 31, 2014

These days...

These days, in no particular order:

*I sleep like a log.  Unless I'm awakened in the middle of the night by a dream, or Chloe's aching leg, or Ryan's bleeding nose (common culprits), and my brain starts running.  Then I'm guaranteed an hour long toss and turn fest, or in tonight's case, said hour, followed by a, "Sheesh, might as well get up and write a blog post."

*Chloe continues to sass, question and critique me on a regular basis.  Some days I'm convinced she's more hormonal than I am.  Thank goodness that with the drama comes a genuinely caring and compassionate heart.  She really is a good girl (with an attitude).

*Ryan, my once mellow, chill kid, is beginning to demonstrate some undesirable personality traits, namely temper tantrums.  This has never been in his nature, ever!  Today he told me, "Mom, you're starting to make me angry."  Not a huge fan of this "phase," but I'll take his communicative efforts over the silent treatment his sister so often gives me, any day!  Thank goodness he still has that tender, sweet side.

*I'm 2 1/2 months into the busiest and most humbling church calling I've ever had: Young Women president.  Much like motherhood, it's tiresome and never-ending.  Even when the boxes are checked, activities planned, lessons prepared, meetings completed, reports submitted, visits made, hugs given, and prayers said, there's still an unspoken weight on my shoulders.  It's a weight that as a past YW counselor and advisor (a few times over), I never, ever felt to this magnitude.  And try as I might to lighten things (through organization, delegation and prayer), I'm beginning to accept that it just goes with the territory of being president.  Just as mothers never, ever stop worrying about their children, I never, ever stop worrying about my girls.  I never knew it was possible to love a group of young women so much.
{Girls Camp 2014!!}  
*I listen to a lot of Ella Fitzgerald on Pandora.  Her music and music like hers soothes my soul, and literally takes the edge off when I'm stressed.  Some days she's my BFF.

*My children make me crazy.  If there's an argument or competition to be had, they find a way.  I'm constantly having to intervene, and sadly, most days, the "blissful" moments come in millisecond form.  I don't know if it's their ages, the summer weather or routine, or just the simple fact that they're siblings and this is what siblings do, but by bedtime, I'm generally ready to shake them.  There are so many components to being a good parent.  Raising a decent, respectable human being with all the desirable traits is very hard.  So often I feel like I'm failing them, but deep down I know I'm doing my very best.  I do love them.

*Speaking of kids, their first day of school is 2 weeks from today.  What's that about!?  Third grade and Kindergarten?  Not ready.

*Neil loves his job.  He also loves his short commute and the fact that his two hospitals are right across the street from each other.  A happily employed husband makes for a happy wife, let me tell you.  And the green scrubs he wears doesn't hurt anything either.  What is it about a man in scrubs?

*I have been on a major reading kick since about February, and have read 8 novels to date.  Currently, Jane Eyre sits on my bedside table.  13 chapters in and I still have yet to be engaged.  I can tell it's about to get interesting, but I have to be honest.  Charlotte Bronte, while an excellent writer, at least in THIS novel, lacks a certain level of wit and humor that I LONG FOR.  The story line is dark and dreary so far, which doesn't make me excited to keep going.  But I know many, many people who love this novel, and it is a classic after all, so I'm expecting that I'll start to get sucked in soon.  I hope so anyway!  Reading is therapy to me.  I've sacrificed sleep to make it happen these recent months, but it's worked wonders for my soul and sanity.

*We continue to stay busy with house projects and furniture.  So far, Neil has built a dining room table, a TV stand, both kids' bedroom sets (beds, night stands and dressers) and a step stool for the bathroom.  Last week while I was at girl's camp, he installed paneling in Ryan's room, and tonight finished crown molding.  There's still SO much to be done, but we're slowly making our house a home.  Father's Day marked 1 year since we moved in.  Hard to believe.

*I'm ready for Fall!!  These consecutive days in triple digits with zero chance of precipitation is getting old.

Grateful for the good things in my life, and also the trials.  My constant hope is that both can continually mold me into a better Valeri.
{Fort Collins, CO - July 2014}

Monday, March 31, 2014

Missionary experience at Safeway

I had a neat and unexpected missionary experience today and want to document it before I forget it.

Upon picking up Ryan from school, he immediately asked if we could go to Chick-Fil-A.  It's a mile or less from his school, and being that he's out at 11:10, we will sometimes stop there for lunch.  While I am virtually always up for a spicy chicken sandwich, I just felt like it wasn't right today, so I told Ryan no and we drove on.  I then suggested that Ryan get a cookie instead since we needed to stop at Safeway on our way home.  Ryan, who normally is as easy and mellow as they come, burst into tears and threw himself a little tantrum.  He wanted Chick-Fil-A, NOT a cookie!  This is honestly not like him at all, but it further confirmed that I'd made the right decision.  I explained that with this kind of attitude, he wasn't going to get either.  Sadly, he continued to pout and when we arrived to Safeway and he sheepishly asked if he could get a cookie, I told him no.

We got into Safeway and went straight to the bakery for rolls, only to discover they were out.  After standing at the bakery counter for four solid minutes, a lady appeared from behind the counter and asked if she could help me.  She checked in the back for rolls only to find none there, then referred me to the front of the store where I could grab individual rolls out of the bin.  Thankfully the rolls were there and after grabbing the few other items on my life, we headed to the self-checkout stand.  Upon scanning my first item, I immediately noticed just feet from us the missionaries from our ward putting change into one of those money machines to get bills back.  I pointed them out to Ryan and told him to go say hello.  He was being shy for some reason and refused.  Maybe it had something to do with no Chick-Fil-A or cookie?  Either way, the next thing we knew, the lady working the self-checkout lanes walked over and said hello.  She asked Ryan's name, then introduced herself as "Dinah."  At this point Ryan decided to put his happy face back on and while pointing to the missionaries, said, "Those are the missionaries!  They go to our church!"  Dinah then said, "I know!  My sister sometimes feeds the missionaries!"  Well that was random!  Then Dinah mentioned how she would love to feed the missionaries herself but recently got rid of her table and isn't sure she could accommodate them.  She even asked, "Do you have to be Mormon to feed the missionaries?"  It was so cool to be having such an open and friendly conversation out in public with a complete stranger.  Finally I told her that we were actually planning to feed them Saturday and that she was welcome to join us if she'd like!  I offered to write down my name and phone number and told her she was welcome to call me if she'd like to come, or if she had any questions or wanted to get in touch with the missionaries.  Another customer happened by and Dinah seemed to be a bit distracted and ended up walking away.  At that point I thought that perhaps that was the end of it and that I'd been too bold in offering her my number.  But the next thing I know she was walking back towards me with a piece of paper and a pen!  I wrote down my name and number and reemphasized our desire to have her in our home on Saturday.  She was very gracious and kind, and thanked me.  She then told me she'd try and call me after work, and as we were leaving, she said, "Goodbye Ryan!"

She also mentioned during our conversation that her mom in Louisianna (or maybe it was her aunt) cooked for the missionaries sometimes too.  I told her about our connections to Louisianna.  Super friendly lady.

I was so amazed by the experience and the simple ease of it.  And then I remembered the feeling I'd had as Ryan asked if we could go to Chick-Fil-A, and how I had a feeling today wasn't the day to go.  And that thought led to the frustration I'd felt standing at the bakery counter waiting and waiting for someone to happen by.  Had we gone to Chick-Fil-A, or had Safeway had the rolls I needed to begin with, we may have missed Dinah.  Or perhaps the missionaries, who never even saw us at all, would not have been standing 15 feet away.  This is a direct answer to prayer.  We as a family have been praying for missionary opportunities, and I just had one!  Perhaps nothing will come of it.  Perhaps Dinah will decide after work that she doesn't want to call me or accept my invitation after all.  But I'd like to think if nothing else, that Ryan's eagerness to share with Dinah that the missionaries from his church were standing over there just might plant a seed.  I am really happy I listened to the Spirit today.