Tag Archives: love

Choose to Rise Above

I watched this beautiful video recently and it really got me thinking. It’s a powerful message and reminder to be kind to everyone.

What’s been on my mind in the days since watching it are the choices we make. Unfortunately, no matter how many amazing videos there are that teach us not to bully or be unkind, no matter how we strive to teach it in our homes, churches, and schools, as long as there is agency to choose right from wrong, there will be those who choose to be unkind and downright mean. Sometimes the unkind acts are intentional, sometimes they are unintentional – the offenders may not even be aware they have caused offense or hurt feelings.  Not only do we need to teach our children how to be kind and (hopefully) not be the bullies, and by all means, correct their behavior when and if they are, we also need to teach our children that they have a choice on how they will let others affect their lives.

We can choose to let them rule us, let their words and actions keep us from reaching our full potential. We can choose to let them drive us from church. We can choose to  hold a grudge that will eat away at our spirits.

We can choose to not let what others say and do keep us from reaching our full potential. We can choose to not let others drive us from developing a close and personal relationship with God. We can choose to forgive and rise above, gleaning good lessons from our experiences.

Some might read my post so far and say, easy for you to say such things, what can you possibly know about being bullied or picked on.

You’re right, I may not know as much as some, but this is what I do know.

I know the moments when I walked into the lunchroom in grade school and sat at a table only to have it immediately evacuated. But, it taught me to be more compassionate and to seek out the lonely.

I know the sinking feeling of waiting to be picked for a team and always to be chosen last. To hope that this time I’d do a good job at kickball or whatever sport we were playing, only to be jeered by both my team and the others when I royally messed up. But, it taught me to be patient with others as they practice and learn to do things.

I know all to well the embarrassment and dismay of finding out that vicious rumors were being spread about me, not only at high school, but at church – and they were started by the girls I went to church with. But, it taught me to be careful with my words.

My list could continue, there were many moments through middle school and high school that were hard and hurtful. I was rather awkward, and though I strove to show confidence, I was a quivering mess inside. But, each experience taught me something and made me stronger. I know I wasn’t always successful in showing the lessons I learned. I am sure I made mistakes, though hopefully not the same ones that hurt me as I grew up.

We all, in life, experience many things, many trials, whether it be bullies, or sickness, or death. And with each trial we have a choice. We can give it power over us. We can become the victim. We can get angry and let it drive us away from all we hold dear and true, or we can stand tall, lift our chins and press on with conviction. Conviction that we are of worth – that no matter how others may see us, we are sons and daughters of God. We can develop forgiveness in our hearts, and be the comfort bringers to others who have suffered similar hurts who may not know how to overcome.

There are days when my girls come home upset, sometimes even in tears, with what kids have said to them. Does my heart ache for them? Yes! But, I know that if I strive to teach them right, these experiences can be for their good. Rather than sitting and talking about how mean the bullies are, or how we’re justified to dislike them or be rude back, we talk about how they can be sure not to treat others that same way and how we can choose to forgive and move on. I remind my dear daughters (and sons) that they are beautiful children of God, and that they have the power to choose. I remind them to keep that power, and not give it away.

Just the other day one of my daughters mentioned to me how she saw a girl sitting all by herself, and she went and sat with her. She didn’t know the girl, but she knew what it was like to sit alone. She excitedly told me how grateful the girl was and how the girl felt she had no friends. My daughter could understand and reach out because she had learned her lesson, and rather than letting it defeat her, she chose to rise above and bless someone else’s life. I was prouder in that moment, than any other about the choices she is making.

Yes, bullying needs to stop. It’s cruel. It’s wrong. Yes, we need to teach our children to be kind and to not bully.
But, we also need to teach our children that when they are picked on, made fun of, bullied, or treated unkindly, that they can choose to let it defeat them, or to let it make them into strong, compassionate people.  We need to teach them to rise above and to love, even the undeserving and the unkind. We need to teach not to sacrifice their eternal well being for anything.

I remember Lizy coming home one afternoon from elementary school in tears. The girl who upset her had been rather mean. We talked for quite a while. As her tears dried up a thoughtful look crept upon her face. “Mom, maybe that girl can’t help it. Maybe she doesn’t have someone at home to love and teach her.”  I recall nodding my head in agreement as I told her, “we have no idea what trials others are passing through and how it affects them. But we can choose how we will let their words and deeds affect us.” She went to school the next day with the determination to show that girl more love, and what an example she taught me!

Gordon B. Hinckley says in his book “Stand a Little Taller”:

“Rise Above Weakness

‘And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world.’ – Ether 4:19

“Do we have frailties? Yes, of course we do. Do we have members of the Church who are not what they ought to be? Of course we do. Some of them may be your neighbors. You might have one for a roommate. Do not condemn the Church for that. Rather, say to yourself, “My membership in this Church is worth more than all of the evil that people can do to me,” if that is what it takes. You be faithful, you be true.”


‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not parish, but have everlasting life.’ – John 3:16

“Love is the only force that can erase the differences between people — that can bridge chasms of bitterness.”

I strive to live my life so that I can be found faithful and true to the end. I do this one day at a time. Every day I have to forgive myself and forgive others.  I hope that they will in turn forgive me for actual or perceived wrongs that I have committed. I pray for love and compassion towards others, especially those who are difficult to love, and I hope they do the same for me when they find me difficult to love.

Life is a series of experiences designed to help us learn and grow and reach our full potential. It’s too short to let the intentional or unintentional injuries caused by others to the body, spirit, or soul get or keep us down. What we take away from life is up to us. Only you can decide how the actions or words of another will affect you. Will you get to the end with a list of grievances about how it’s been unfair, how you let others control your life by their actions? Or will you get to the end knowing that no matter what happened to you, you strove to love and learn the good lessons and let those experiences, both good and bad, shape you into the amazing person you are?

The choice is yours.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” –John 13: 34-35″


Filed under Opinion, Parenting, Religion

A Perfectly Imperfect Christmas

I woke up Christmas Eve morning, my entire body feeling heavy, like it was difficult to breathe.  My heart felt like it was  broken and trying to pump lead . Some days over the past months are easier than others and that day, it just plain hurt. It had been building over the weekend. The family had been fighting more and I found myself wishing that things could just be easy, for a few minutes if nothing else. In a spot in life where remembering to be happy and to smile can be hard, some days, I just wish for easy. I sat in the bathroom sobbing. All I wanted was to have everything back to how it had been before Lizy died. Sure, life would be far from perfect, but it wouldn’t be impossible.

But, it was Christmas Eve day and dinner had to be made and all the other preparations and I couldn’t let my family down. I struggled through the day. We all did. I think we fought more than we ever had. I cried more than I ever have. Everything felt broken. Nothing seemed to work right. And I caught myself thinking numerous times, “How can we hope to be an eternal family and see Lizy again, if we can’t make it through a few hours without a major fight.” I sobbed, I pounded on my husband’s chest and soaked his shirt with helpless tears and no clue how to fix everything that was broken, because it wasn’t the kind of broken that could be fixed with some duct tape or crazy glue.

I pulled my self together for the fifth or sixth time that day, smeared my tears away and ran a last minute trip to the store, trying to collect myself, knowing that when I got back our adopted grandparents would be there and the festivities would begin. I cried some more in the car and hoped my eyes didn’t look too red. I tried my best to wish the cashier a cheery “Merry Christmas.” I don’t know if I was convincing or not.

Sure enough, as I arrived at the house they were there. I walked in and my heart lightened. It was Christmas Eve. It would be perfect, and even though we couldn’t see her, I knew Lizy would be there.

We ate dinner and acted out the nativity – the kids insisted on Lizy being the angel and we draped the white lab coat (angel costume) around her picture. We made it through, I laughed and had fun – the kids were so cute in their costume and we felt the spirit and Lizy’s presence. Santa came and brought pjs and we tucked the kids into bed.

We spent the next couple hours cleaning up and getting ready for Christmas morning and then, as I stood there and looked at the fully packed stockings and Lizy’s rather lacking one the tears hit again and all the missing came back.

I cried myself to sleep.

I awoke on Christmas in a post-cry haze to the sound of the girls whispering excitedly. The day progressed remarkably smoothe – I was wrapped up in the joy of the children. I didn’t mind the crazyness and the mess. There were a few tense moments,fights and one rather large explosion at one point, but I managed to hold it together some what.

Evening came and we sent the kids off to bed and I stood staring at the fireplace mantel where all the stockings, now empty, hung. All but one. Lizy’s sat on the hearth still waiting to be opened. We brought the kids back down and sat on the floor by the tree. I shook out her stocking and paper after paper tumbled out. Paul and I began to read – our Christmas gifts to Lizy. Most were acts of service or kindness carried out by our family, but some were by others – even a neighbor down the street had dropped some by. We read, and read and read. Often times our voices cracking with emotion.

As we finished, Emily climbed, sobbing, into my lap. “I can’t believe all the service that was done for her.” She choked out. We cried together, all of us – Dot and Dad, Jacob, Em, James, and I. Robert looked on in bewildered 2-year-old innocence. As the tears dried I looked at the family. I knew Lizy was there too. It was perfect – a perfectly imperfect Christmas. And for that one little moment I caught a glimpse of heaven. A glimpse of what it’s all about.

We might fight, we might argue, but we also love. We love deeply and eternally.   Our dear sweet kids have struggled and strived and done hard things – some of the hardest things they may ever have to do. My husband has been my solid rock. My littlest boys have been some of my greatest comfort. Last night as I glanced around at the messy house and the toys and wrappings scattered about all I could remember was the happiness of the day, the gratitude in my heart, and the joy that I had a family and friends who cared so much that they filled Lizy’s stocking with service that took us well over thirty minutes to get through. And that time when I cried, it wasn’t so much tears of sadness and missing Lizy, as it was an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.

I knew Lizy was thrilled and I knew that no matter how hard, how much we fought, how impossible it all felt and seemed, that we would make it through – we’ll have a lot more rough patches to still make it through – but we’ll get there one way or another. I’ll fight for it, our family will fight for it, and we might mess up big in the process, but that’s what this season is all about. A celebration of the birth of the one person who made it all possible – Jesus Christ.  With His help, and only with His help can we do it, – and we will. I know it.


Filed under Child loss, Family, Lizy, Parenting, Religion

Because he loves me…

…my hubby took the baby after I was up with him for an hour so that I could get some sleep – and he gave him a small bottle of formula when he realized that baby was hungry, AGAIN, and he had eaten barely an hour before.  Thank you, wonderful husband of mine!


Filed under Parenting



Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.

I usually limit myself to one, but these are two of my favorites, and I just couldn’t choose between them:

HHH & Elizabeth

Dorothy & Elizabeth


Filed under Children, Dot, Lizy, Photography

Love and Marriage

I found this on Sariah in Vancouver’s blog and thought it would be fun, especially since I just celebrated my anniversary with my HHH (Handsome Huggable Hubby).

Love- Tell us about your first love/crush. No, you don’t have to name names, but why that person?

I don’t remember the first person I had a crush on, but I remember the first person who had a crush on me. I was in 3rd grade. He was in 5th grade. Why he ever liked me I shall never know. But he did get a first grader to kiss me on the bus after school. Boy was I ever mad (remember I was a tomboy and boys are gross). If I remember the story correctly I decked the 5th grader and scowled menacingly at the 1st grader.

Though I do remember this kid in highschool that played soccer. I had a crush on him. He had great legs, but it was his eyes and smile that got me. He had one of those slow smiles that started out very thin but then grew and blossomed until it took over his entire face, not a hostile take-over, just peaceful negotiations. And his eyes. He had these steel grey eyes, like a stormy day at the beach. He was a nice guy too, played trumpet in band, and was respectful to others, especially girls and that was a good thing.

and Marriage- Are you married or in a serious relationship? For how long? If not, do you want to get married or be in a serious relationship someday, or are you happy with your single status? Well you all know that I am married and have been for 8 years, and I won’t bore you with the sordid details two times in one week . . .so if you are curious or have forgotten you may want to seek medical attention, an dif that fails read my Love Story post again. heh 🙂Go together like a horse and carriage- What’s the most romantic thing you done, had someone do for you, or seen done?

Well, let me start off by saying that it is not cow tipping! hee hee. Now, having cleared that up, I find a lot of little things romantic. I love it when my HHH dances with me in the kitchen while I am trying to make dinner. Or when we leave each other notes on our little message mirror. Often we sit up late at night sipping on sparkling cider and playing board and card games, laughing with each other. Those silly little traditions that just happen, such as switchbacks. When Paul and I were hiking one day, the trail was steep and windy with constant switchbacks. Everytime we hit a switchback it meant that the person in fron had to switchback and kiss the person behind. We always look forward to those now when we go on hikes. Or gazing out across a sunset on the ocean with our arms wrapped around each other and walks on the beach. *sigh* To me it is all heavenly bliss . . . . mooooo. 🙂


Filed under Love and Marriage, Meme

A Love Story

I noticed him on the first day of my second semester. He was just starting his college experience; I was winding down to the end. There were several new members in our symphonic band, 3 of which were French horn players. There was just something about him that caught my eye. I think it was the goofy grin that never quite left his face.

A few weeks into the semester I landed myself on crutches, don’t ask, it’s too embarrassing to tell. It was January, in Rexburg, Idaho, and I had to try my hand at maintaining my balance on a couple of skinny sticks with hardly any traction. Heh. While I am sure I displayed many comic routines as I skidded, flopped, and flew to class, it was also the blame for why I got to know my future hubby so well.

I swung into the music building and turned the corner to the locker room. I was already running a bit late as I tried to keep balanced and yank my horn out of its tiny little space. I had developed the art of holding onto the handrest of my crutches with my thumb so the rest of my fingers could wrap around the handle of my French horn case. The only problem was that the horn would swing and bash into my crutch threatening to take it out completely. After the weeks I had spent on crutches my senior year in high school (due to the toe vs. lawnmower incident) I had become quite proficient at crutch wielding and I was at least able to maintain a certain aspect of dignity, even if I was lying on the ground, heh. By the time I finally managed to bash my way into the concert hall where we held our daily practice our conductor had started warm-ups and I found myself the humiliated center of attention as I proceeded to make my painful way to my seat, tried to balance as I extricated my horn, and then figure out what to do with my crutches.

After practice was over and I was making my way back to the locker room I felt a strong hand wrap itself around my horn and gently take it from me. Surprised I looked up to see him, with that goofy grin on his face. From that point on, he always carried my horn for me. And, me, being the sweet, genteel, demure, creature that I am followed behind, swinging on my crutches, kicking him (not hard of course) in the rear all the way.

He would also perform this routine for me on Tuesday evenings as I went to horn lessons (we had our lessons within 30 minutes of each other) and our group sectional on the same evening. I soon discovered that he spent quite a lot of time there on Tuesdays and I began to purposely arrive there earlier and earlier hoping to see more of him. The thing I did not discover until quite some time later was that he was doing the same thing.

The weeks passed and I finally ditched the crutches in March, but by now he was in the habit of carrying my French horn and our tradition continued as we talked our way into class. One fateful Tuesday evening our group had gotten to talking and it was entering into the hours of twilight as I headed out of the music building when I heard someone jog up behind me. The goofy grin asked if he could drive me home, after all he hadn’t had a chance to talk to his friend (my roommate) in a while. I accepted and off we went.

All our rooms were upstairs in the apartment and that’s where I had gone to change, while he talked with my five roommates. I didn’t know it, but they were talking about me. He was perusing our kitchen and had asked which was my cupboard. They told him and much to his surprise all he found when he opened it were 3 boxes of “yellow death” (mac and cheese) and 5 potatoes. See, I was a poor starving college student. My parents were very helpful, but I was too proud to try and tell them that the $80 they had sent to get me through the rest of the school year just wasn’t going to cut it, so I was squeaking by on my meager budget. Paul was horrified, but knew that I wouldn’t accept help from him so he devised a sneaky plan. He invited me out to dinner.

But don’t get the wrong idea here, it wasn’t a date. Never a date! He simply stated that he had extra money on his food card that he didn’t want to waste and so we went out to the campus restaurant. Our first such dinner we ate spaghetti and ended up talking for 2 hours. My roommates were anxious and upset that I wasn’t home when I usually was until they found out I was with him. Then the teasing began, but I denied it all quickly, after all he had the same name as my brother and that would just be too weird! 🙂 Well, to make a long story short, he kept feeding me, and my sources tell me he kept checking my cupboard too, and it wasn’t too long before we were dating. I left to serve my mission and we were engaged shortly after I returned home. Eight years ago today we were married in the Portland Oregon Temple. These have been the happiest eight years ever, and I look forward to another happy 80. (ooh, and he still has that goofy grin, which I love so, so, much!) 🙂


Filed under Love and Marriage, Youth

Happy Valentine’s Day

(dedicated to my hubby)

How does one describe
Emotions of the heart?
Words, insipid, fail to capture
The ardor with which I love.

Nor can it be painted with
The finest brush in hand.
Colors dull with time,
So opposite my passion.

What resemblance to
Nature could I possibly compose?
The most majestic mountain or
Delicate rose sallow in comparison.

As time erodes the most formidable citadel
Devotion, secured in the
Fortress of my heart,
Will crescendo through enternity.

-J.H. Schmidt


Filed under Love and Marriage, Poetry, Writing


Weekly Anamnesis #8

I swung myself on my crutches kicking my foot forward waiting for the connection. I planted it firmly into his back side. He turned, both of our French horns hanging at his sides, “You better watch it, I might let you carry it with your teeth!” He teased.
“What? What do you mean? I just have a spastic twitch in my leg!”

“Just like your arm right?”

“Hey, can I help it if you don’t watch where your going and keep walking into my fist? Come on, give a girl a break!”

We had become good friends due to his knowing my roommate 3 years before and being in the French Horn section together. We hadn’t even realized how much time we were starting to spend together. It started when he gave me a ride home after an evening sectional. He came in to hang with my roommates and while I was upstairs he asked which cupboard was mine. I was trying really hard not to ask my parents for extra money and had hit the end of my budget. All that was left was a couple boxes of “Yellow Death” (mac & cheese) and about 5 potatoes (the Idaho staple). He was mortified, but new I’d never except help out right so he got sneaky.

A week later he invited me to eat at the school restaurant, The Viking. But, don’t get the wrong idea here. It was not a date. Never a date. 🙂 He used the excuse that he had too much money on the college food card his parents had purchased him and that he needed to use it up. So we went out and had spaghetti. We ended up talking for over 2 hours. Finding yet another connection. His dad was a native of Oregon and his aunt had a cabin at my favorite beach. We talked for ages about our favorite coastal haunts.

By the time I finally arrived back home to my apartment my roommates were really worried. It was after 9:30 and I never got home later than 6:30 on Tuesday nights. Boy did I get ribbed when they found out who I was with the entire time. They teased and teased.

“Are you kidding? This was not a date! It’d be like dating my brother!” (he and my brother have the same name)

They nodded and I heard some mumbled “yeah rights” among them and big cheesy grins on all their faces. Funny thing was, I had a big cheesy grin on my face too. “You guys are all nuts! I’m going to bed now.” And they busted up laughing. They knew.

Over the next few month we had a number of “non” dates and we started spending a lot of time in the fishbowl (the lobby in the music building). I had figured out what times he was usually there and I would just “happen” to show up. Oh how we laughed when we found out later that he had found out when I was usually there and would just “happen” to show up as well. Neither of us knew we were purposely arranging to see each other. The teasing from my roommates increased with my denials of liking him.

Well as fate would have it his parents came to our last concert and we went out to “JB’s” afterwards. We never thought we flirted. We just teased . . . a lot. We were flinging water and stuffing icecubes down each other’s backs and his parents were laughing and I thought silently thinking, “This girl is completely nuts!” Turns out his parents liked me. His dad was in his room talking with him when he noticed some scantily clad bikini girls on his roommate’s wall.

“Those a distraction son?”

“Nope, don’t even look at them.”

“Well, I know someone who is.”

“She’s dating some one dad.” (I really wasn’t, he just thought I was)

“Tell her to dump him and go for you.”

He did (he was too chicken to do it before his dad told him too). I did. We were married two years later after I returned from my mission in Chile.


Filed under Anamnesis, Humor, Love and Marriage, Writing, Youth

Some People Are Just That Way

I’ve read lots of posts about neighbors, mainly strange, crotchety, or criminal ones. Those stories are often more entertaining and interesting anyway, and I enjoy reading them. But today I choose to be boring (just getting to my computer has been a feat today) and I’m going to blog about my very sweet nice neighbor, and you all will say, “Awwww . . . ”

I woke up this morning sick as a dog. Paul stuck around to get the kids off for school while I huddled in bed wishing that morning had never come, well 3:00 a.m. anyway. I was trying to figure out how to get Dorothy home from school in the middle of the day, with out making myself feel the need to high tail it to the bathroom, when I thought to call my neighbor friend. She also goes to my same church and we visit frequently. She doesn’t have a car but agreed to come watch my two littlest kids while I went to pick up Dorothy, which made it so much easier.

She and the little girl that she watches full time arrived (walking about 4 blocks in the rain) and I headed out the door, thanking her for coming profusely. Needless to say when mom is sick, the house just goes to wreck and ruin. I got home, and there was my neighbor friend, cleaning my dishes and she announced, “I have made a decision and there is nothing you can do about it.”

I am sent off to lie down while she cleans up my kitchen, feeds my children, and picks up my living room. She finally stops and sneaks off only after I have fallen asleep on the couch. So here I am, in my clean house feeling oh so grateful for caring neighbors and friends. Oh, and she insisted on bringing dinner tonight too. My dreadful miserable day, isn’t quite so miserable now and I feel very lucky. 🙂 (ok, time to go back to sleep now . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz let’s just hope the kids don’t get into too much trouble . . . hee hee)


Filed under Parenting