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November 1 2009 LDS Families Newsletter
Hey y’all, I’ve missed you!
It has been a long time since my last newsletter. I’ve not forgotten you, it’s just that I’ve been a little tied up. As some of you may recall I was last griping about having something like three hospitalizations in three months.
Well, fascinating story, I’ve had Pneumonia since March. It isn’t a Pneumonia anyone can identify—it isn’t bacterial (which most of them are), it isn’t caused by Valley Fever (which was the verdict for a couple of months there) , it isn’t a virus that anyone can identify (anyone involved in MY care, that is), and so on. Also my labwork shows that my Immunoglobins (Those fascinating little building blocks of our Immune Systems), which should be a bare minimum of 690 to be considered ‘normal’ (what the number means, I don’t know. Jeopardy score, maybe?) are hovering right above 300. This means there is some disease process--as yet unidentified--attacking my immune system directly. Making me oh-so vulnerable to any and every bit of nastiness my KINDERGARTENER and THREE PRESCHOOLERS drag home. Oh yeah, and adding to the fun, there have been 10 confirmed cases of Swine Flu on base.
I had a Bronchosopy (delightful bit of fun wherein a tube is inserted up my nose and sent down into the depths of my lungs) which revealed several ‘growths’ (NOT Cancerous, thank you very much). Full biopsy results are pending, but those pesky growths’ll have to be removed soon.
Anyway. My fellow editors at BellaOnline have been so understanding. I especially want to thank Tina Sansone, editor of the Genealogy Site http://www.bellaonline.com/site/Genealogy
For filling in for me and writing an article on Family Home Evening.
Unfortunately there’s more going on independent of my health irritants that has really knocked my family on our collective patootie (is that how that’s spelled?) I hesitate to drag it out before you all. I like to keep things kind of light and upbeat, and, truly, I cannot laugh at all about this other boogey man. In fact, I tried to write a newsletter about two months ago between hospitalizations, and it turned out to be deeply desperate and distinctly ‘downbeat’. My faith has been, is being, tested. Not my faith in the gospel or Heavenly Father. Not in His existence, or even His love, but I guess my faith in myself. I don’t always know any more that I can handle whatever is thrown at me. Worse, I sometimes choke on the words “Thy will be done.” What’s going on has been for a while now. It involves cruelty, abuse of power, and our children—that is, threats to their well-being—being used essentially as weapons against Larry and I to keep us in line. Every time we turn to an agency, organization, individual, etc, charged with overseeing and investigating these matters, we’ve been kicked in the figurative teeth, as the false information our perpetrators first spewed out is regurgitated and they are exonerated. Each time justice is denied, in spite of our providing a mountain of documentation and actual proof that our claims are true, I crumple in a little more, and I begin to fear I will never regain my original shape. I guess I’m starting to ask, as countless before me have done, “Why Father? Why don’t you just tell them what’s what. Why don’t you stop this pain? All we’ve done is tried to do what’s right.”
Sorry. Please don’t think that’s the end of it. My questioning Heavenly Father is a sign of a lack in me, not Him—I know this. The truth is that in spite of the real threat to my precious ones, we have not been physically harmed or separated from each other for even a moment. The Lord has protected this family with every breath, every trodding, bleeding step. I am grateful to Him for that, and I know that the mere fact I am still here, writing for this site, focusing my time and energy on sharing the gospel in my professional life is a clear sign of His mercy and care. I am fortunate that we don’t need to have attained perfection to speak of these things. I can write of testimonies, gospel principles, tips for happier family life, even though I continue to struggle, to strive and learn in these areas myself. Another blessing from a wise Father—we do that striving together, teaching one another, hopefully becoming more perfect as we go. This weekly deadline has been an anchor for me. I’ve no choice to but to stay engaged with the gospel, and if I’m gonna do it I can’t do it halfway. I am glad someone is out there still reading. If you have the teeniest spare moment in your prayers—toss one up for my family, would ya?
Arrrghghgh-hhhuuummm. (That was me clearing my throat, signaling a gigantic change of subject and tone.) On to happier things—A month past General Conference, heading into major Holiday-dom before the post New Year crash, here’s what’s going on at LDS Families. My most recent article is all about unnecessary, but almost inevitable, at least if you’re a female-type Mormon, guilt. It really messes up our flow, man. Once I became a Mother I really began to see how dangerous made-up, amorphous, indeterminate guilt is to my performance as a wife, Mama, daughter of God. You can find my take on the subject here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art10755.asp
COMING UP FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR
I’m pleased to finally begin featuring a ‘site of the month.’ If you know of a hidden gem in this webscape, please drop me a line and a nomination. These should be websites that offer information or services that provide some real benefit to LDS families. It’s great if these services are free. Ease of navigation and use is a definite plus.
Coming up: a site run by LDS author Kersten Daynes, offering information and resources geared toward LDS couples experiencing infertility; Love2Romance--a business run by four LDS moms that offers a service focused keeping romance in our marriages; Sugardoodle-- a site offering a plethora of free art, activities, and resources for teaching LDS children. Whenever possible I will include an interview with the owner of the business/site.
Also, I hope to offer an ebook this year, reasonably priced and filled with information on how to make sure Santa doesn’t hog the spotlight from Jesus this Christmas. I don’t mean to brag (mmm, maybe a little), but I’ve focused considerable energy on this problem in my six years of motherhood, and I think last year I actually cracked the Christmas v Christ quandary! Santa is happily a humble servant of the Savior in our home now, though it takes persistence and repetition repetition with my five boggle-eyed, over-stimulated, sugar-filled, commercial-quoting knuckleheads. I’d love to share how we’ve done it. (Oh yeah, and help feed said knuckleheads in the process!)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Mom! It’s not perfecto! UUUUUUUUUUHhhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnn! Fix it pllleeeaaaassseee!” This whined by one of my three-year-olds several times a week when a corner falls off his cracker, or his action figure’s arms aren’t precisely aligned, or he can’t make his big-boy hands keep the colors in the lines, or…ok, you get it. This three-year-old perfectionism may well be the origin of the theme of this week’s article on excessive, manufactured guilt. (As a weird aside—we aren’t a Spanish-speaking family. And yet he always says ‘perfecto’.) A nice lesson here is that the cracker tastes the same even if it is IM-perfecto, the action guy is just as brave, and the picture, well, I am a wee bit slanted to notice my child’s undeniable brilliance, but I believe the aura of color outside of the lines is a sign of devastating creativity and intellect. Further, when whatever we are doing (or whatever we *are*) fails to rise to the level of *perfecto-ism* my little guy has it right—‘wwwwaaaaahhh! Father! It’s not what I wish it were. I’m not all I’d be.’ He’s the one who can and should determine what’s acceptable-o and when something is truly worth fretting over. Take it to Him and leave it in His hands, where it is anyway.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Wait! Before you toss out the remainders of your kids’ Halloween costumes, gather them up and begin a “Dress up pile.” Dress up is one of the greatest ways of play. Whatever you’ve got—old scarves, hats, gloves, aprons, costume jewelry, toolboxes, non-deadly tools, long, flowy skirts, uniforms, big, colorful blouses, bags. Keep them and add to them all year round. Chances are next year you’ll have enough to patch together costumes without dropping $20 per kid, and the years’ worth of imaginative play is invaluable. Spend an FHE acting out skits, or get really ambitious and produce an entire play. Next time those dreaded, nasally sing-songed words *I’m bored!* escape your kiddoes lips, drag out the bin and play make-believe.
That’s about it for now. Look me up on facebook if you’re so inclined. Just mention that you know me from LDS Families if you’d like to be my friend.
Please, if you like what we do t LDS Families, recommend the site to those you know. Thanks for all your feedback, and please keep it coming!
Be safe. Be happy. God be with you, friends. *Mizpah*
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Jamie Rose, LDS Families Editor
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