Friday, September 25, 2009


I said, "Mom, what are you doing, you're ruining my rep"
She said, "You're only sixteen, you don't have a rep yet"
"If they were laughing you don't need them,
"Cause they're not good friends"

The Fresh Prince definitely had his own take on the power of reputation... I didn't realize my 11 year old would have to deal with it too.

Her 6th grade Health class participates in a program called All-stars, where they talk about several different choices that teenagers are now forced to make, and the steps leading to these choices, and what can be done to help make the best choice. One of the aspects I particularly love about this program is the parental involvement. Every so often, Hailey will bring home a worksheet with answers to scripted questions on one side, and a few questions she is to discuss with me on the other side. The questions that she discusses with me are based upon the answers given on the previous page.

This time, the paper was about reputation.

By definition, a reputation is the estimation in which a person or thing is held, esp. by the community or the public generally. According to my daughter, this means that a reputation is what other people think of you.

So I ask, can you affect what other people think of you.
She says, yes, by the choices you make.
Okay, so what kinds of choices should you make. Right ones...

So far, so good.

Okay, so now I am going to tell you a story. There was this guy. He had some people that HATED him. It was really bad. They thought that he broke rules. He made other people question their belief. They thought he wasn't obedient to his leaders.
Then there was this other group of people who thought he wasn't very important, but because of the choices he made, other people got mad, and there was arguing and fighting and violence, and this second group didn't like that, so they did bad things to him.
Then there was this third group of people who thought that he was super important. They would sit and listen to him for hours. They saw the good that he did and would tell their friends.
Hailey, who is this man? Mom.... that's Jesus.
That's right. Did Jesus care what people thought of Him? Nope.
Who's opinion did Jesus care about? Heavenly Father's.
That's right. Did Jesus make bad decisions? No.
That's right. Not once. Did everyone think he was a good person? No.
So, is your reputation the most important thing to worry about? No.
So what should you think about? I should try to make the right decisions, and not worry about what other people think of me.
That's right. What can you do to help you remember to make the right decisions? I can remember that I am a child of God and that He loves me. If I remember that, then I don't need to worry about whether or not people like me or not.
That's right. You can't control what other people think, but as long as you are doing what's right, that's all that matters. You know your Heavenly Father loves you, and you know I love you, and you know that is not going to change. The friends that you have, that are good friends, are not going to give you a bad reputation if you are making good choices. You won't always be perfect, but at least you are doing the best you can, and fixing things when you need to. That's all that we ask.

Now the clincher...

Mom... I can't write that on my paper. This is for school. I will get into trouble.

Friends, I'm not gonna lie. That simple statement broke my heart. To think that the most important thing I can teach my daughter about who she is and how she is special, and the best defense I can give her against the forces of darkness in this world, will get her into trouble at school is such a sad little commentary on the world today. I told her to write it anyway. (I'm a rebel...) Then I took her paper and wrote a note to her teacher, right under my signature.

"Dear Mr. N,
Our family stands very firm in our religious faith. We use the lessons we learn from our faith to teach our children correct principles. The answers Hailey has written reflect the discussion we had, and the principles taught within our faith, and within our family. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me."

The best thing that we can do for our families, and for the world today, is to continue being the best men and women we can be. I believe that by following the principles of the gospel, and remembering our own divinity, we can change the world... even if it is one growing-up girl at a time.

PS... When I checked my reader this morning, there was my daily nugget of religious wisdom, that totally applied to this post...

“Let us . . . honor the special place of the family. As James Q. Wilson wrote:“ ‘We learn to cope with the people of this world because we learn to cope with the members of our family. Those who flee the family flee the world; bereft of the [family’s] affection, tutelage, and challenges, they are unprepared for the [world’s] tests, judgments, and demands’ (The Moral Sense [1993], 163).”

Neal A. Maxwel, “The Tugs and Pulls of the World,” Liahona, Jan. 2001, 44

Monday, September 21, 2009

September Visiting Teaching

I love visiting teaching. There are few greater things that I enjoy more. The biggest reason that I do love visiting teaching, is because it helps me connect with Sisters.

I never had sisters of my own. I ended up with brothers, so when they got married, I was thrilled because there were finally girls!!!

September's Visiting Teaching message from the Ensign talked about Understanding and living the Gospel of Christ. You may wonder what this has to do with Visiting Teaching and sisterhood... I don't. It means the world to me. It means eternity to me.

How Does Understanding and Living the Gospel Bless Lives?

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We must live the gospel in such a way that we will have the Spirit to ever be with us. If we live worthily, the Spirit will always be with us. We can then teach by the Spirit. … The reason we pray, study the scriptures, have good friends, and live the gospel through obedience to the commandments is so that when—not if, but when—the trials come, we are ready” (“Teaching by Faith,” Liahona, Sept. 2003, 10, 14–15; Ensign, Sept. 2003, 20, 24–25).

I absolutely love that Elder Hales listed "Have good friends" in the same list as prayer, scripture study and obedience to the commandments. I think there are few things that are more important to us than the friendships that we have, whether they are based upon our relationships with our family, or without, it is these relationships that have been promised us in the hereafter.

Even as I sit and type, "Angels Among Us" by Alabama is playing. I cannot thank the many women who I am grateful to call friends. They are truly angels to me, and they know who they are.

Thank you, my sisters, for your love, your support and your ongoing friendship. When my trials come, you are ready... I love you!

Friday, September 11, 2009


CP had lived an amazing life, 12 years spent in the service of our family. CP was a great support; the kind of foundation that holds you up you when you need something to be there. He once saved my life. In the pitfalls of my first pregnancy, CP came in and cradled me with comfort, offering me the rest that I truly needed for the trying times ahead. That’s how I became close to CP. Yes, that was over 11 years ago and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

I remember once CP suffered negative effects of the dirt and grime of the world. These stains left me shocked and thinking evil thoughts of those who would abuse such a loved one so. Of course as you all know, I am referring to CP. A little bit of crud is not going to separate us.

CP supported my first husband and I through the end of our marriage, and, without even batting a button, came with me when we separated. He held me up, when there was nothing else to do so, and was more than willing to spring up and do his part to comfort me in my grief.

Then one day, I met a man who was ready to love me for everything that I am. It was not because I’m in love with CP but it’s more of I was simply not used to sharing CP’s time with anyone else. It was always me and CP. When I met DJ, I didn’t know how CP would react. DJ turned out to be a really nice person and he ended up being a good friend of CP's too. I must say, wonderful things happened with DJ, CP and I.

What is it that we remember when we think of CP? I think everyone who knows him very well would agree with me on this. It was his welcoming space. He was the kind of person that would make everyone jump on board and get comfortable. Who could forget about his willingness to wrap those he loved and hold them tight? What we especially loved were the groans and squeaks as he took the weights off our shoulders, and off our feet? Goodness! You could hear the sounds of relief rooms away. He was so available. That is what I will truly miss about CP. He could make me relax when I was really wound up. He always comforted me when he knew I just had a bad day. That’s the trademark of CP. He always wanted to make people happy.

CP’s death was long, torturous and tedious. Gradually he had begun to sag, and just didn't hold up the way he used to. While not coiled quite as tight, he just didn't have the bounce he once did. Then he began to really fail. The creaks and groans were no longer a relief for us, but a reminder that the time had come. CP indeed lived his life wonderfully. I will forever be grateful to have known CP. I will forever be grateful that CP was there at the right places and at the right times to save my life. I will forever be grateful for spending 12 years of my life with a friend like him. All the memories I have shared with him will forever be cherished and remembered. CP will forever live in my heart… In our hearts.

CP has moved on to the Valhalla of the landfill, a wonderful place where all good mattresses go to die and we are here at his funeral. This is not the time for us to grieve his death but it’s our time to celebrate his life. Don’t ever forget CP. He never wanted to see people cry, but would support us when we did, and catch our tears. He wanted to make everyone happy. So at this moment when we are about to lay his upholstery to rest, let’s all think back and remember how CP touched our lives. How he made us settle in and how good CP was at supporting us. This is not the moment for us to shed our tears but we should all be thankful that we were given the chance to have known a mattress named CP.

CP will forever be missed but I know that in moving on, we are only bringing ourselves a little more comfort, and support. Thus, on to the next part of our lives... DCP (Doctor's Choice Plus of Denver Mattress)

Friday, September 4, 2009


Rain Rain, go away.. come again another day...

I am not a huge fan of rain. Sure, I understand the necessity of the precipitation to keep my lawn wet without me paying extra on my water bill. It is also important to note that rainy days are the perfect time to turn on my little fireplace-looking space heater, find a good book and vegetate all day. Alas, where have those days gone...


Rain has a tendency, also, of sneaking into my basement and leaving my carpets and toy room floor wet. Three areas, this time, at last count. While this moderate inconvenience could be significantly worse, the annoyance it brings with it knows no bounds, for instead of taking a nap yesterday, I had to clean carpet and dry floor.


Earlier this week, I found myself praying for rain. My little car drove me to the state fair and back twice over the weekend. Once, I took my children and their cousins (which was great fun, pictures to follow), and the other I took my friend, Wendy, to a concert (again, pictures to follow). The combination of driving on dirt roads to park and a busy schedule left my poor Mali looking a little like an off-road vehicle without a hose. Time crunches being what they are, I was unable to get my car washed, and every morning, walking to my car, I prayed a silent prayer that some rain would absolve my bronze baby of her uncharacteristic sheen.

This morning, my prayer was answered. As I peer out the front window of my home, I see that the rain from yesterday has washed away the dirt and dew lines. While she is not perfect, I thank heaven for small miracles.

Now... Can the rain just go away for the rest of the day.

I've got a picnic tonight.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


(The video feed is for streaming the speech on Tuesday. It is more for my reference so I dont' have to hunt when the time comes!)

Politics are not my best friend. I'll admit it freely. However, I do want to keep informed about things that are going on. Enter my friend, Janelle. She contacts her Congressmen monthly, and keeps up to date on all things governmental. This morning she contacted me about a situation that I was not even aware of, and which I am passing along now as an FYI.

President Barack Obama is presenting a speech to elementary school students on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 at 12PM EDT. (Here in Lincoln, it will be presented at 11AM.) According to the website, President Obama will be talking about making and keeping educational goals. Also linked to the government website are some ideas for educators on preparing for this speech, and follow ups to the speech. I have read it all, and found nothing that disturbed me.

HOWEVER... I have read some articles from newspapers not directly affiliated with the President indicating that there are additional materials (among them a worksheet) that are being sent to the educators that offer a left-winged bias to some of the political issues in the country today. Sadly, nowhere was I given the ability to see such a handout.

That being said, this morning, I sent an e-mail to the principals of H&K's schools. Here is what it said...

Dear Dr. D and Mrs. R,

I am the mother of HB (6th grade) and KB (4th grade).

This morning I became aware of the speech the President will be giving to the elementary school children on Tuesday morning. (Here is the link to the website discussing it!) I was wondering if your schools will be presenting this speech to the students. I was also wondering what educational resources had been provided to the schools for preparing for and following up on the speech. Some news outlets have claimed to seeing a supplemental worksheet that is not included in the links to educational conversations on the website. If such a worksheet exists, and you have access to it, would it be possible for me to look over it prior to the speech on Tuesday morning, please?

Thank you for your attention to this matter!

In the five minutes it has taken me to type thus far, I received a response from K's 'pal, Mrs. R.

Thanks for your message. I just learned of the President's speech earlier this week. I have not heard about a supplemental worksheet but will let you know if I do. Thanks again.

Please understand that I am not expressing an opinion about the speech at all, for if I did, I would be prejudicing myself to something that could be very beneficial. At the same time, I think it is important for us as parents to be aware of what is happening, so we can make the best decisions for our children.

All that I ask is that we stay informed, and that we educate ourselves as much as possible, AND THAT WE GO DIRECTLY TO VALID SOURCES, rather than relying on media efforts to sensationalize the true situation.

If you would like to use the letter I wrote to my children's principals to contact your own, please feel free to do so. Thanks!

PS - The President published his speech on today! Take a look at the link!