Sunday, May 31, 2009

cows and fences

I have attended institute classes taught by S. Michael Wilcox (phenomenal teacher) and one illustration in particular really caught my attention.

He talked about cows and how they love the fence lines. They will graze at the fence lines until there is no more grass then they'll work their heads through the barbed wire fences so they can reach the grass outside the fence. Soon the grass immediately outside the fence is gone so they have to lean against the fence to get the grass a little further out. Eventually they will end up knocking over the fence. He said the interesting thing about this is even when the fence is completely down, the cows will not cross that barrier. The young calves, on the other hand, are a different story. They will cross the fence, wander off, and get lost. That's why ranchers are constantly mending fences.

He likened this to us. If we as parents are constantly pushing the boundaries, chances are good that our children will cross them. Safety is found in the center of our lands. I think this is mostly true.

In my early married years, I absolutely LOVED football so I watched the pro games on Sunday. I found reasons to justify it. I have since repented and try to do more appropriate Sabbath activities. However, I am generally unhappy with my children's choice of Sunday activities (lots of TV, computer games, etc). I now wonder if I had stayed in the "center of my land" if my children would now choose better things to do on the Sabbath.

On the other hand, my aunt asked me in December how Kevin and I got Brakston to go to the temple so often. I didn't know the answer. Then in January Brakston and I were in the temple and saw a "friend" of his from school who was taking out his own endowments. Brakston went to speak to him but came back almost immediately. He said his "friend" was upset and was not ready to be in the temple. I asked Brakston why he thought he'd been prepared. He said he thought it was just because Kevin and I attend the temple so frequently and my parents work there so he went in expecting to love it and have it be important to him. Maybe this is an example of my actually staying put in the "center of my land."

All of that said, I still don't believe it is always true. Children still have their free agency. Parents can do everything right and stay in the "center of the land" and their children can still cross the fence, wander off, and get lost. It is probably just more likely that if parents are pushing the boundaries and trying to see how close to "bad" they can get that their children will be worse.

This gives me incentive to examine my actions more closely. Am I pushing boundaries or playing it safe? What kind of example am I setting for my children?

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I've been accused of being competitive and maybe I am, but I learned one thing on my solo commune with nature (hike) -- I am the MOST competitive with myself.

My hike led me to the bottom of a waterfall. After an hour or so of meditation, pondering, and note-making I decided to hike to the top of the falls. The trail looked steep and challenging and actually proved to be even more challenging than it appeared -- lots of loose dirt and rocks. I struggled up using whatever hand-holds, foot-holds, or toe-holds that I could find. It really was a mighty struggle but I did not want to give up. There was no one around to see my failure. There was not even one living soul who knew what I was attempting so I wouldn't even have had to admit to failure if questioned. Still I could NOT give up though I realized I was in a pretty precarious situation -- alone and on a steep, slippery trail with few footholds.

It was then that I realized I compete far more against myself and my goals than against others. I set pretty high standards for myself and I'm constantly trying to "raise the bar". My goal is to always challenge myself to do more or be better or improve in some way.

Strangely, it was this realization that allowed me to give up my quest to make it to the top and start trying to find a way down. (Good thing too since going down proved even more difficultand I've got the scraped elbows, scraped hands, and hole in the seat of my pants to prove it.)

I'm not sure competition is always a bad thing and I definitely don't think it's bad when it's directed against yourself.

--scrappinsoccermama is relieved she had a sweatshirt to tie around her waist to hide the hole in her pants for the hike back home.

Friday, May 29, 2009

mission statement

For several years I have wanted to write my mission statement or my own personal constitution if you will. However, my plan to do so involved getting out in the great outdoors - just nature and me and some paper. An entire day by myself in the mountains has been a little more difficult to come by than I planned but yesterday I finally managed it.

I left the house the moment the kids left for school and drove up Provo Canyon and then took the Alpine Loop. I hiked to Stewart Falls (the best hikes usually involve waterfalls) and only saw ONE person! I had 1 1/2 hours completely to myself before I saw anyone else.

I had time to ponder and self-reflect and write. Unfortunately, I took a break to do a bit more hiking, had a mini-avalanche and ended up with a scratched cornea. It was extremely painful and I had to remove my contact so then I couldn't see. I ended up returning home still mission-less. Who knows when my next chance for escape will be?

That's okay though! I had a marvelous time. I loved the outdoors. I got good exercise. I learned about myself. I made progress on my mission statement. I have a few blogs for upcoming days (maybe when I can see this screen clearly once more).

All in all, it was time well spent and I'll have to do it again sometime (except the scratched cornea part, of course!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

books and reading

Last night after book club several of us had a discussion about genres and good writing vs. bad writing. My friend, Tami, confessed to being a "book snob". I had to really think about it but what I've decided is that, for me, it mostly comes down to the story. If I really get engaged in the story, I can overlook poor writing. The writing might bother me at first, but if I enjoy the story I quit noticing the poor writing. The opposite is also true. I have read books where I've loved the writing but if I don't like the story, I quit being enthralled by the writing.

For example, I recently read "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath. I loved the writing style and the imagery at first but I never got engaged in the story. Therefore, about halfway through the book, I was ready to quit. I ended up disliking the book. Good writing is not enough to carry me through a book.

I think I can read and enjoy almost anything as long as it has an interesting plot or great characters or something to engage my mind. The writing is secondary to me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

defining characteristics

Yesterday I finished reading "The Camel Bookmobile" for book club. At one point a father is musing about his son. He talks about how his son has scars of defiance so he disdains authority. The father hopes this wouldn't become his defining trait.

This made me ponder whether most people have defining traits or whether they are an amalgam of characteristics. Can one trait be so dominant that it really defines who you are or becomes what you are known for?

I believe Christ's defining characteristic is love. All that he did, he did out of love. All his miracles were performed out of love. Even his cleansing of the temple was an act of love.

I tried to think of defining characteristics of my chidren. Brakston and Shanley are both happy-go-lucky. (They are both easy going and just want to have fun!) McKayla's defining trait might be her desire to never make mistakes. She's not a perfectionist, she just hates to be wrong. Alec's defining characteristic is love. Chandler is defined by his sensitivity.

However, at the same time, I am reluctant to even call them defining characteristics because there is so much more to each child than that one thing. Also, shouldn't a defining characteristic be permanent. I think these characteristics will change over time (except for Alec's propensity to love).

I have also determined it is much harder to define myself in terms of one trait. I can't even sum myself up in five traits or ten. I am not sure I see a dominant characteristic in myself but that could just be because it is so difficult to see ourselves clearly. I often wish I could see myself as others see me. (Maybe I could then get a better handle on my annoying traits.)

There were many others for whom I could not pinpoint a defining characteristic but others for whom I could see a dominant trait easily. But then, maybe that dominant trait is only when dealing with me. Maybe they are a different trait entirely to someone else.

Anyway, it's been interesting pondering defining traits.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

productive day

Yesterday was one of those ultra-productive days that I absolutely love and revel in!
I love lists so I'm putting the day in list format.

1) Jazzercise workout
2) did several loads of laundry
3) made homemade muffins
4) 8 hours on-line CPE (continuing professional education) course entitled "Modern Supervision". I need the CPE to retain my CPA license.
5) helped McKayla sew curtains for her room
6) updated the photos hanging on the wall
7) visited the gravesites of loved ones
8) cleaned out the fridge
9) made a schedule for the Tuesday a.m. temple workers
10) made cookies for the kids' sack lunches
11) cleaned the kitchen
12) picked up the general living spaces
13) made chicken poppyseed pasta salad
14) picked up milk from the grocery store
15) made broccoli salad

Monday, May 25, 2009


We took the opportunity on Memorial Day to not only fly our flag in honor of the members of the Armed Forces whom we owe so much to but to also visit the gravesites of our loved ones.

For me, that consists of my maternal grandparents and my youngest sibling, Craig.

Here's my grandparents' marker.

Kevin and my children never got to meet my grandpa so I enjoy regaling them with stories of him. My grandma died a little less than 2 years ago so they remember her. They all called her grandma-great.

Here is my borther's marker. None of my children remember him. Brakston was only 9 months old when Craig was killed and my other children were not yet born. They all would have LOVED uncle Craig!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I read in the Deseret News this morning of a Utah man who played a "prank" at the U.S. Open. He was there in his flip-flops and shorts surrounded by many spectators in suits. He said he got tired of the snobbishness of the crowd so when Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson headed onto the 17th green, he sprinted past them and threw himself into the bunker where he proceeded to make snow angels in the sand.

He was, of course, hauled off to jail, fined, and banned from the Augusta course. He claims he'd do it again because the people and rules there are so stuffy and snobbish.

I am not a golf fan but I believe this is not about golf or snobbishness or laughs, it is about respect. Since when is it okay to thumb our noses at something we don't like? The U.S. Open has a long history of tradition. The players have worked extremely hard to get there. The fans who've paid for tickets have come to expect a certain decorum.

I'm not certain what this man hoped to accomplish by his stunt. All he seemed to accomplish was delaying the Open about 5 minutes and getting fired from his job (he was at the Open escorting clients). I actually wonder if he felt uncomfortable (not suitably dressed) and projected the snobbishness onto the crowd.

At times in today's society there seems to be a lack or respect for just about everything. There is a lack of respect for the family. There is a lack of respect for those who hold office. There is a lack of respect for stay-at-home moms. There is a lack of respect for certain religious beliefs. There is a lack of respect for our teachers. There is a lack of respect for the rights of those who live differenly, believe differently, speak differently, etc than we do.

This man may not have liked the atmosphere of the U.S. Open but I feel he should have respected the course, the rules, the players, and the fans. We can all be polite without endorsing something. We can show respect for others without agreeing with them.

As Aretha Franklin says "All I ask is for a little respect".


Last Sunday we had Sacrament meeting talks on integrity. I have given some thought to people in my life who live with integrity. While there are quite a few, two in particular stood out to me.

One is Kevin. I would trust Kevin with anything and everything. He knows how to keep a secret (an important trait for a bishop, that is true). He also really lives his life according to his beliefs. If he preaches something, you can be sure he lives it. There is no masquerade, no facade, no game-playing with him. What you see is what you get. He is very open and honest and genuine with people. I am so lucky to be married to such a man!

Another is my friend Jill. She has absolute integrity. I can even trust her with my deepest emotions. She is another person who lives true to her convictions. I don't see her painting a false picture of herself or her life or her family.

These two people are such great examples of integrity to me. I feel blessed to have them in my life and hope I can emulate them!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

funny Chandler

Chandler has always been my child that says the funniest things. Unfortunately, I have not always been good about writing them down.

We were sitting at the table over dinner tonight and Chandler's good friend, Abby, was eating with us. We were discussing Chandler's cub scout shirt. I was saying that I absolutely HATE sewing patches on scout shirts but I'd do it because I loved him. Chandler looked at Abby and turned a little red.

A few minutes later we were talking about something else and I said to Chandler, "Oh, you just got the special piece of pizza because I love you so much." Again, he looks at Abby, rolls his eyes, groans and says to me, "You're too much loving!" It cracked me up!

--scrappinsoccermama is looking forward to many more years of embarrassing her youngest son! (and hopefully listening to him say funny things!)

slice of life in a treehouse

Current loves/obsessions of Life in a Treehouse:

Kevin - gardening
Marvelle - reading
Brakston - missionary work
Alec - swimming
McKayla - soccer
Shanley - making money
Chandler - Ticket to Ride

Last movie/video watched:

Kevin - ???
Marvelle - Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (horrid!)
Brakston - too long to remember (he's not allowed movies)
Alec - Spy Kids III (for probably the 3rd time today)
McKayla - Hannah Montana the Movie (surprisingly good)
Shanley - Kung Fu Panda
Chandler - Kung Fu Panda

Last Book Read:

Kevin - The Financial Peace Planner by Dave Ramsey
Marvelle - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Brakston - The Book of Mormon
Alec - sports section of the newspaper
McKayla - tried to read Twilight but gave up (not that interested)
Shanley - Uglies by Scott Westerfield
Chandler - Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe

What Everyone is Doing Right Now:

Kevin - flying
Marvelle - blogging (I was sewing before this)
Brakston - I'd like to imagine he's making that "golden contact"
Alec - running through the sprinklers
McKayla - shopping with soccer friends at The District
Shanley - riding her bike with a friend (Allie)
Chandler - playing Rockstar with Abby

Friday, May 22, 2009

pressures and productivity

Back on the 11th of this month I posted about how I was incredibly busy and had made myself sick by overdoing it.

Now, I am having the opposite problem. Life has slowed down for me by virtue of no one needing subs this close to the end of the year and no major to-do's that I am in charge of. This means my productivity has slowed way down.

Yes, as much as I tend to overdo it at times, I do seem to need pressure and deadlines to be at my most efficient. Currently, although I have many projects that I'd like to work on or should work on, I don't have pressing deadlines so I'm not getting much done.

I am absolutely embarrassed to report how little I got done yesterday but I'm going to do so in an attempt to shame myself into action! lol. Here's yesterday's grand total: 1 Jazzercise workout, 1 load of laundry, made 1 batch of brownies, planted some flower seeds, weeded a little, house-cleaned a very little, attended a Special Olympics meeting, attended a soccer team meeting, went to Shanley's 5th grade program, blogged, and went to a movie (don't get me started on that. I went to Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and it was a horrid, vapid movie that I will eternally regret not walking out of after the first 15 or 20 minutes).

There - an amazingly pitiful amount to accomplish in a day. Why do some people tend to work better when they have stress and deadlines? Why am I one of those people? Although I typically do better than I did yesterday, I still seem to kick it into a much higher gear when I have pressure.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I am reading the most interesting book entitled "Why We Make Mistakes, How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average." Okay, okay, the title is a little long. Still, the book is fascinating so far (I'm not very far into it).

The author talks about how our expectations shape how we see the world. For example, if we see a person and are told he is a truck driver and are asked to guess his weight, we guess his weight to be high. If we are told he is a dance, we guess his weight to be low.

The author claims that people who are happy make fewer mistakes. Happiness fosters well-organized thinking and flexible problem solving. However, optimism does not help because optimistic people are more often overconfident and overconfidence is a leading cause of human error.

Sometimes we just see what we want to see or expect to see. For an interesting example go to".

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I sometimes think of my husband and children as vultures (not a nice way to think, I know). If they are home when I return from shopping, they pounce. Things I buy are gone before I can unbag and put them away.

For example, Brakston requested that I put chapstick in his next missionary care package. He is in the land of heat and sun (Arizona) and is drying up. So, on the latest trip to WalMart I bought not one but two 3-packs of Chapstick with sunscreen. My intention was to put one in storage and send one to Brakston. Within hours (before I could assemble the care package) both 3-packs had been opened and distributed leaving one tiny tube for Brakston. Nothing says "I love you" like one measly chapstick.

If I buy chocolate and don't hide it, it is gone within minutes. Oh heck,I don't even have to buy it. I was given a large Symphony bar for Mother's Day. I can make chocolate last for a while (even confessed chocoholic that I am) so I hadn't even opened the chocolate bar yet. My daughter asked last night if she could have a piece. I was thinking she'd take a square so I agreed. Within 2 minutes all the vultures had appeared and I was being asked if I wanted the last couple of squares. Yes, sadly, the chocolate was all but gone and I was being offered the remnants of my own Mother's Day gift.

It even works for fruit. If I purchase a bag of apricots, they will be gone before I can get them in the fridge. A week ago I purchased 3 flats of strawberries thinking I'd let the vultures eat one and I'd freeze the other two. Sadly, I did not get to them quickly enough. There is maybe 3/4 of a flat in my freezer today.

Some houses have signs that say "Beware of dog". My house sign should say "Beware of vultures".

--scrappinsoccermama is going to run to WalMart again for more chapstick and some chocolate. If I go now, I can have it all safely hidden before the vultures return. Hopefully, their sense of smell is not as great as their eyesight. lol

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

happiness just published a new report on its study of happiness. The findings include:

1) We are happier as we age.
2) Old men are happier than old women.
3) Republicans are happier than Democrats.
4) Happiness is partially inherited.
5) Cash helps happiness only when we use it to do things instead of buy things.

I thought that was really interesting. Too bad the study didn't answer the question why these are true. (Note: It did state that Republicans are not happier than Democrats due to money because they adjusted for the usual income differential between Republicans and Democrats.)

Are you happier today than you were 5 years ago? Ten years ago?

I would have to say I am happier (or more content) now than I was 5 or 10 years ago. Is it because I am older? Probably. I have had more time to become whom I want to be, more time to realize my goals, and more time to be comfortable with who I am.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The 5000 Year Leap

I recently finished reading "The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World" by W. Cleon Skousen. It's an educational book about America's founding fathers and the principles they applied to write the Constitution and form our government.

I learned so much from this book but what struck me the most was how far our current government has strayed from the founding father's original plans. It is actually scary!

For instance, it was considered essential that the government not go into debt. If forced into debt, it was to pay off the debt as quickly as possible. With the budget Pres. Obama has submitted for 2010-2019 the national debt would stand at an annual deficit of $7.3 to $9.1 trillion. This is an amount I fear we will never be able to repay.

Other principles include that written laws should not be so voluminous or incoherent that they can not be easily read and understood. Tax code anyone? (I had to take tax courses in college and they made me insane!)

Another principle is that a free people in a civilized society always tend towards prosperity. Only as the federal government has usurped authority and intermeddled with the free-market economy has this surge of prosperity been inhibited. That is a truly scary thought in today's economic climate especially as we watch the federal government institute bail-outs.

One other principle our founding fathers believed is that the government of a free people cannot be maintained without religion. They even thought it was essential that religion be taught in schools. There were five points that were to be taught in schools:

1)There exists a Creator who made all things, and mankind should recognize and worship him.

2) The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong.

3) The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other.

4) All mankind live beyond this life.

5) In the next life mankind are judged for their conduct in this one.

The whole Constitutional framework was built on these five points. (For example, the sanctity of civil rights and property rights.)

These are just a few of the principles that our founding fathers intended. How have we gotten so far off track? Is it better today? Have the changes that have been made been for the best? I don't believe so. I would love to go back to a strict interpretation of the Constitution and a limited Federal government.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Have I mentioned how much I love to read? lol

I attribute my good grades to reading. I attribute my awesome spelling skills (I was once a champion speller) to reading. I attribute my job as a writing lab tutor at Ricks College to (you guessed it) reading! There are so many benefits to reading besides the things you learn and the pure enjoyment.

However, as much as I enjoy reading, I am afraid I have probably still taken it for granted. John Adams (2nd U.S. President) spent considerable time in France and speculated that of the 24 million residents of France at the time, probably only 500,000 could read. I also love math so I computed the percentage - 2%. Only 2% of the population was able to read!

That was probably the norm for the time. However, America's founding fathers thought it important that all people be educated. Universal education was considered an indispensable ingredient to a free society. May I never take reading for granted again!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

books I've read in the last month

Here's the list of books I've read since April 15th (last list). I've ** the ones I highly recommend.

Crocodile on a Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright
**The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (I've read it before)
Belong to Me: A Novel by Marisa de los Santos
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean P. Sasson Folly by Laurie R. King
**Ten Degrees of Reckoning: The True Story of a Family's Love and the Will to Survive by Hester Rumberg
**Uglies by Scott Westerfield
Marley & Me: Love and Life with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan

Friday, May 15, 2009


I was at the elementary school this morning listening to my son, Chandler, read the book he authored to his class. The reading got interrupted as the principal came over the loud speaker and asked everyone to come out and sit in the halls and cheer on the ID (Intellectually Disabled) units as they headed off to their "Special Field Day" competition.

I lined up with the class out in the hall and was smiling and ready to cheer. Instead, the moment I laid eyes on the first athlete, I was in tears. Great big alligator tears running down my cheeks and smearing my make-up. I turned away unable to explain to Chandler's 2nd grade class, who were watching me so intently, why I was crying.

Why does the sight of special needs students getting cheered on tug so much at my heartstrings? I am sure it is because I can imagine my own son, Alec, walking proudly down those halls hearing and loving the cheers. Knowing Alec, he would be strutting with a big grin on his face, looking pleased as punch with himself, and high-fiving every person he passed.

I remember a similar tear-stained incident years ago. I was working for the federal government at the time and was asked to be in charge of the United Way fundraising drive. This entailed traveling to various offices and showing a video and speaking about the fundraising.

The video arrived and I previewed it. I was unprepared for the emotions that flooded out of me. The video was Garth Brooks music video for "Standing Outside the Fire". It portrayed a high school student with Down syndrome who refused to sign up for Special Olympics but instead signed up for the regular track meets. He practiced by running home with his mom driving alongside him in her vehicle. He attended the team practices and was always "miles" behind everyone else but still he persevered. His father was very unhappy. He was sure everyone would laugh and make fun of his boy.

The day of the big meet came and the boy with Down syndrome was ready to race. His mom watched proudly from the stands ready to cheer him on! We catch a glimpse of his father standing outside the gates peering on nervously. The race starts and soon the teen with Down syndrome is left far behind but he keeps going. Then, he trips. Some people rush to help him up but his father gets there first yelling, "No, don't touch him. He has to finish the race." Then he says to his son, "Get up, son. Keep going." The boy gets up and with his father running alongside him, he finishes the race. The song goes "Life is not tried, it is merely survived if you're standing outside the fire."

I watched the video over and over trying to become inured to the emotional heartwrench. It was no use! I cried in every office I had to show that video. Over and over and over I cried. To this day, I still cannot even blog about it without weeping.

I guess that is what I want most for my son, Alec. I want him not to have limits placed by others but to be able to do what he wants to do. I want him to be accepted and liked as a unique but great individual. I want others to recognize his worth. Most of all, I want him to be happy! And I suppose I want that for every one of those students who marched or rolled or stumbled down that elementary school hallway this morning.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

delusions of grandeur

A few days ago I blogged about being stupid by making myself sick when I overdo it. I said then that I need to learn to say "no".

I have thought about that a little more since then and have decided that saying no might not be my biggest problem. I can (and do) find a way to say no when I really don't want to do something.

I think my problem may be delusions of grandeur. I have a lot of goals for myself. There are a lot of things I enjoy or think are important and I believe I can do it all! In my defense, I usually do get it all done. I just sometimes kill myself in the process.

I enjoy the things I do and choose to do them (no one holds a gun to my head), I maybe just need to quit viewing myself as Wonder Woman and get a more realistic view of myself! Maybe I need to narrow the list of things I consider vitally important to my happiness, to my family's happiness, and to my individual development.

--scrappinsoccermama vows to cease her delusional behavior immediately (or is that another unrealistic goal?)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

the hide and (don't) seek club

It seems that I am always hearing people complain about women in Utah. They say they are fake or putting on a show of being perfect or words to that effect. What I don't get is if so many people feel this way, who is left to be the ones putting on the show?

I wonder sometimes if it isn't more the fact that we all live on top of each other so we know too much about other's lives without REALLY knowing the person. It is true that we often only see what others want us to see. I will admit that I don't like to air my dirty laundry, imperfections, and mistakes to everyone. I don't feel comfortable with that. Only when I get to know and trust people do I let down my guard. Does this make me fake or just protective of myself?

Is there more pressure in Utah than other places to be perfect? I don't think I feel pressure from others - only from myself. I know I have problems and faults. I know others have them too and I don't really mind if they want to keep them hidden from me. We are all struggling each day to improve. It is a struggle because we are human. We are the natural man and the natural man is an enemy to God.

Is the problem not that we hide our true selves from others but that we try to portray ourselves as not having any problems? Again, I wonder how much of this stems from living so closely to the people we go to church with, socialize with, and attend school functions with. Is the problem different in New York City or are so many people strangers that it is just not noticed?

As you can see, I don't have any answers only questions.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

stereotypical gender roles

I think I've always rebelled a bit against stereotypical gender roles. I am perfectly capable of mowing our yard. I do most of the snow shoveling courtesy of Kevin arranging his flight schedule to miss the major snow storns (I swear he's got better prediction powers than any weatherman). I can and have assembled many items of furniture such as cribs, desks, and bookcases. If a doorknob needs replacing, I'm your man (woman).

Is this because:
a) the world has changed and there really is no such thing as a sterotypical gender role any more?

b) I was the oldest child and had no brothers for 6 years. Therefore, my dad had me mow the lawn and go target shooting with him until my brother was old enough. (Yes, my younger sisters never had to mow the lawn).

c) I've always been sturdily built (euphimism for BIG) and am tough and strong. I can do quite a bit of heavy lifting (I'm not saying I'm stronger than any man but, still, I am stronger than some).

d) I have always been a bit of a tomboy. I prefer sports, outdoors, dirt, camping, etc... I have never liked dolls or been able to perfect the giggly girl routine.

e) I grew up playing with my cousins who are all older than me and MALE. I learned to keep up with them and do whatever they could do.


f) a little of all the above.

My guess is it's probably f. Still, all that being said, I never wanted to be a boy. I was happy being a girl. I don't mind "women's work". I do the dinosaur's share of the cooking and most of my husband and my laundry (the kids do their own). I enjoy being a girl, I just have always wanted the freedom to do what the boys do too! Maybe I'm independent and just don't want to have to be taken care of!

Monday, May 11, 2009

I can be stupid

At times, I can be really stupid. I don't mean the "I-can't-learn" kind of stupid but the "I-don't-seem-to-learn" kind of stupid.

For the past several years I have suffered from numerous colds. The knock-me-down, I can't breathe, I can't sleep kind of cold. The cold that makes me so miserable and I can't find a medicine that even seems to help kind of cold.

The dumb thing is that I think they would be entirely preventable if I could just learn one simple word - NO! Or maybe I could even have my choice of words - HELP would probably work too!

I keep getting really far overextended. I take on too many projects, am involved in too many things, and push myself too hard. Then, I get stressed and overly tired and then my body just breaks down.

That is where the stupid comes in. I know what behavior causes the colds, I just don't seem to be making any changes in my life. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

--scrappinsoccermama is now committing to trying to get more sleep! (I better get to bed now since I have to be up at 3 am).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Favorite Memory of Mom

What would Mother's Day be without paying homage to my mom? I do, after all, have one of the greatest moms of all time!

One of my favorite memories of my mom is our after-date routine. While in high school, whenever I would come home from a date, I would wake up my mom. She would get up (now that I'm a tired, tired mom I realize how difficult that is) and come into the bathroom with me. She would listen to my replay of the date while I removed my makeup, washed my face, took out my contacts, and brushed my teeth.

Then we would climb into my twin bed together and I would finish telling her all about the date. She always finished it up by asking "Did you like him?" and "Was he a good kisser?".

After I went to Ricks College, I remember one date that was particularly good and I just had to call my mom for old time's sake and tell her all about it. Even though it was well after midnight, she seemed very happy that I had called to share my excitement about this great date!

So, Happy Mother's Day, Mom! You are the best! I love you!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Brakston's phone call

How can I be eagerly anticipating an event and dreading it at the same time?

I get to talk to Brakston tomorrow for my Mother's Day phone call. I am happy about that. People always tell me it's the best phone call in the world. So, why am I dreading it?

1) I did get to talk to him at the airport 6 weeks ago and what I learned then is that it made me miss him so much more. I had a very hard time for several days after the call. I am not looking forward to going through that again.

2) It will be the last time I get to talk to him for the next 7 1/2 months. That is too long to even begin contemplating so I already don't want the phone call to be over because then it's a long time until the next one.

3) Brakston's mission president has a 30-minute time limit which is way too short! I am dying at the thought of all 6 of us trying to fit our conversations into one 30-minute phone call. I seriously considered telling everyone else that it is Mother's Day (MY day) and they could each have 1 minute and I get the remaining 25. However, I can't do that to the rest of my family. Lately, Alec has been talking almost non-stop about how much he loves his brother. I know McKayla is really missing him and needs to be able to talk to him, and of course, Kevin doesn't get a Father's Day call.

All of that said, I would not miss my phone call for the world! I will talk to Brakston and he will probably make me laugh (which I dearly miss). Then, I will hang up and cry. Oh well. At least I've got my list ready. I've been listing what to talk about for a week or two so I don't forget anything important.

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Week

A good portion of my week was spent on Teacher Appreciation Week for Riverton High School. I was in charge of the week but had a great committee helping me. Here's my contribution for the daily teacher gifts (there are 200 teachers/admin/aides/etc)

Oops! I forgot to turn that first photo but you get the idea! My kitchen counter and table were full all week with dipped fortune cookies, bags, labels, ribbons, etc!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Miss Beautiful Morals

I read in the newspaper this morning that Saudi Arabia is hosting its 2nd annual "Miss Beautiful Morals" contest. They are looking for the contestant that shows the most devotion and respect for her parents. It is their answer to the West's beauty pageants.

Now, I am not a huge fan of beauty pageants but I can't imagine trying to judge someone based on their morals. How do they know what their morals are? Do they just ask them? Are there tests or studies? Do any of us always know what our morals are until they are tested?

A few times I have watched "What Would You Do?" on one of the newsmagazine series. (I don't recall which one - 48 Hrs...who knows?) It has fascinated me because it presents differing situations (i.e. shoplifting, incidents of racial prejudice, a wife beating her husband, youth taunting each other, etc) and tests to see people's reactions. The situations are staged but the people encountering them are real.

Many times I have asked myself what I would do in the depicted situation. Would I get involved? Would I keep quiet? Sometimes, I am not sure how I would react. Sometimes I am not even sure how I would want to react. This seems to be a pretty good test of someone's real moral character.

I am not sure how you test moral character in a beauty pageant.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

equal rights not equal things

I have been reading an interesting book on the founding fathers and the Constitution called "The 5000 Year Leap" by W. Cleon Skousen. It identifies the 28 major principles on which the American founders established this country and its government.

One of the principles is that the proper role of government is to protect equal rights not to provide equal things. Most of the founders agreed on the following suggestions:

*Do not help the needy completely. Merely help them to help themselves.
*Give the poor the satisfaction of "earned achievement".
*Where emergency help is provided, don't prolong it so that it becomes habitual.
*Enforce levels of responsibility - self, family, church, community, county, or in a disaster the state.

I was very interested to learn that there is absolutely NO Constitutional authority for the federal government to participate in charity or welfare. hmmmm - wonder where we missed that?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

happy pills

This morning while driving I heard a radio announcement for "feel good" pills. No lie! We're not talking clinical depression (which I believe does need medication). We are talking about a pill for the average person who just needs an attitude adjustment. The ad actually promises you'll have a positive attitude and feel happier! All day, no less!

This totally cracks me up. I swear that someday there will be a pill for everything. Here's a list of pills I'd like to see:

*a pill to give teenage girls more self-esteem
*a pill to give teenage boys more brain cells (or at least use of the ones they've already got)
*a pill that reduces road rage
*a pill that would make me crave only healthy foods (whole grains, fruits, veggies)
*a creativity pill for days I want to scrapbook

What pills would you like to see?

things I can't live without (or don't want to)

*my family
*good friends
*microwaves and crockpots

Monday, May 4, 2009

nature vs. nurture

Today I'd like to join in the nature vs. nurture debate. Note I said "join in" not "add to". I am not really certain where I stand on nature vs. nurture but I think I lean towards nurture.

My sister, Jolyn, and my kids seem to be examples of the nurture side of the argument. Kevin and I both love sports. Our children love sports. Jolyn and her husband love music and their children love music.

I tried to be very open-minded and let my children pick what they wanted to do as far as extra-curricular activities (if I had my way, one of them would play football). I even insisted that they take piano lessons. I have suggested acting lessons, choirs, film clubs, etc. Still, my children favor sports. Did Kevin and I somehow (maybe subconciously) let them think that's what we wanted them to do? I certainly haven't been subtle on my insistence that they take piano lessons until they can play any and every hymn in the hymnbook but that hasn't increased their love (or decreased their lack of love) for piano.

A few of Jolyn's children do take karate and gymnastics (and are quite good) but they are all really involved in orchestras and bands and choirs and marching bands. Several play multiple instruments.

Therefore, one could conclude that nurture is the dominant force since the children seem to favor what the parents prefer.

On the other hand, my children are also an argument against nurture. I absolutely LOVE to read! I have read anything and everything for as long as I can remember. It was definitely my preferred activity as a teen. My children have seen me read probably every day of their lives. I read to them as children. Yet, not a single one of them likes to read. They are not bad readers, they would just rather be outside playing soccer or playing with friends. Strike one against nurture!

What do you think? Nature or nurture?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

In His image

In the Bible (Genesis 1:26) we read "...Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness...".

I have always read this to mean we have bodies of flesh and blood just like God. We have noses and knees and fingers just like God. We are both recognizably human.

However, I had a new thought today (not new in the no-one-has-ever-thought-of-it-before sort of way but new in the I-hadn't-thought-about-it-much-before sort of way). Image also refers to likeness in temperament, in reasoning abilities, in love.

For example, I get mad when my children don't obey my rules. God gets mad when we don't obey His rules/commands. Then, I want justice (i.e. you missed curfew, your curfew is earlier next time). God also demands justice. At times I am merciful and understanding, God is always merciful and understanding. I have the capacity to love others and be kind to everyone. God is loving and kind. I have the ability to reason and to think. God is all-knowing.

In other words, I am created in God's image not just in the physical sense but in the spiritual, mental, social, etc senses as well. God is just far more perfect in all senses!

This helps me relate to Heavenly Father in a more personal way.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Triple F

Our family likes to have Triple F (Forced Family Fun) activities on occasion. In other words, you will go and you will like it!

Sometimes the activities are nothing more than going hiking, getting ice cream cones, or going to the dollar movie. Other times we do things that are more creative and crazy.

One of our favorite things to do is to give every family member $2. Then, we head to the grocery store and everyone buys something to contribute to dinner. It is all very secretive and no one knows what the others are buying. It is so fun to get home and discover what our dinner is going to be.

One time we went "out" to eat. We drove around for a little while and when we got home, some friends had set up our table outside. We sat down to the table and they drove by and tossed our first course out the car window. Soon, they rode by on their bikes and tossed us our next course. They came by on motorcycles next and then in a pickup.

One time we had a roll of a die meal. We headed our for a walk. We carried 6 brown grocery bags. Each one was numbered. When we got to a corner, we would roll the die to see which bag we would eat. We could end up with dessert or drinks or chips first. After we ate, we would roll again to see which direction we would head. If the number was even, we went right. If odd, left. At the next corner, we'd roll and eat again. I'm sure the neighbors wondered what we were doing eating on street corners.

Another of our favorite forced family fun activities is going bowling. None of us are great bowlers but we have a lot of fun! Surprisingly, Alec is a pretty good bowler so it's nice to have something he can really participate in.

I truly hope that Triple F activities are what our chidren remember most about their growing up years.

Friday, May 1, 2009

a person's true nature

Yesterday I finished reading "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly". It was written by a man who suffered a stroke which left him completely and permanent paralyzed. He was only able to blink his left eye. Using a letter chart and blinking, he was able to dictate the book.

Jean-Dominique Bauby (author) posed this question, "...does it take the harsh light of disaster to show a person's true nature?"

I truly believe the answer to this question is YES! I have often wondered who I am or, in other words, how would I react to severe personal trials and hardships?

My life has been quite blessed. I have not really experienced major hardships. Would I be able to endure something like paralyzation with grace? Could I overcome going blind and go on to lead a meaningful, inspiring life? What would being diagnosed with cancer do to my mental psyche and my everday behavior? If natural disaster struck Riverton, would I share my food storage?

As Jean Valjean sings in "Les Miserables", Who Am I?