Saturday, July 30, 2011

Just another expert huh!

There are a few things I wish I knew before I had children. Things that might have made life easier had I not had to learn them the hard way. Retrospect is a wonderful thing, but if I could pass on a few tidbits of info to anyone yet to experience parenting, they would be;

•if you are lying down on your back holding your baby above your head making them laugh, keep your mouth shut tight
•when your baby vomits in your mouth while you are lying on your back flying him over your head, you can't fight the urge to vomit yourself
•dont let the tiny clothes fool you-our washing frequency went from two loads a week to two loads a day
•you really can sleep sitting up when you are tired enough
•you will feel guilty if you don't clean while your baby/toddler is napping but you will kick yourself for not resting when they wake up
•who says 2-minute noodles can't make a well-balanced dinner?
•when you smile and grit your teeth while whispering threats in your childs ear in the supermarket, you really arn't fooling anyone, no normal parent is smiling in the supermarket!
•there really is a secret tunnel out the back of the washing machine where one out of each pair of socks escape to the outside world
•Elmo, Brobee, Thomas, Bob, and Dora are some of the best friends I could ask for; they come the same time everyday, entertain my children, don't require any of my attention, and they couldn't care less if I haven't vacuumed when they arrive
•the busier the pattern on the carpet, the better the crumbs blend in
•playdough should be somewhere on the food pyramid-I've given up fighting it
•no matter how many tissues/hankies you have on hand, a parents clothes are always more appealing
•Somedays, the cleaning and cooking really can wait, because time really does go by too fast and before you know it you are chasing the little people you once held in your arms.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just Being Neighborly

When I was young, I would get home from school, chuck my bag in my room, open the fridge and look for food before deciding there was nothing I wanted, search mum's treat hiding place in the pantry, then go meet up with my neighborhood friends and play til dinner. We would play outside, go to each others houses, ride bikes, try and make wine from the 14 sour grapes we found growing, steal 'nunga' bands from the piping in the houses being built to wear as necklaces, walk to the shops to get gum, and suck up to the 6 year old boy a street away who's Dad worked for the Coke factory and had a massive stash of softdrink in his garage.
I can't possibly see how Mum could have known exactly where we were all the time, we just had to be home by 5:30pm.

I can't fathom the idea of letting my kids do this. Of having them playing out on the street and not actually knowing their exact location. The very idea scares me.

I guess things have changed with the times. I don't think there is the same closeness between neighbors that once existed. I remember when we moved into our current house about 3 and half years ago. Nearly a year later, there was a story on the news about an elderly lady who died and it took 3 WEEKS before she was found. Her neighbors in the apartment next to her alarmed police due to the horrible smell coming from her apartment!
This made me realize we hadn't even introduced ourselves to our 'new' neighbors. We gave the friendly nod and wave as we drove past each other in the communal driveway, but that was as far as it got. So being LDS and doing what we do, I baked some cupcakes and dropped them off to a few of the houses around ours and introduced 'The Bush Clan' to our neighbors.
Turns our we have lovely neighbors. We don't BBQ together or anything, but they are nice, friendly people. We have a good chat every few weeks and we have each others mobile numbers.

I like to think that if we all died, they would notice in under 3 weeks.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Glory days

This year marks ten years since I graduated high school. Kind of makes me think about what I was like a decade ago compared to now. Honestly, I feel pretty much the same inside as I did at 17. I am still terrified of singing in public, I get flushed over silly things, I procrastinate things until the absolute last minute even though I feel anxious if I'm unorganized, and I still put my pajamas on the second I get home no matter what the time of day.
I have very little artistic talent. Music, art, and drama were subjects I dropped as soon as they were no longer compulsory. In year 9 I was in a whole class play that we performed at the end of the year. People actually had to pay to come see it. Considering I was a terrible public speaker and couldn't act in the slightest, I was given the role of the doctor. The doctor had a total line!
The plot was teenagers in a car crash after drink driving. My line was pretty basic. All I had to say was;

"I know all about that party, my daughter goes to the local high school."

Clearly our play wasn't going to win any awards with this plot and script. Come the actual night, I was decked out in one of the science blocks lab coats, armed with a clip board-just as all doctors do right ;o)
A few scenes in and my line was coming up. I was all ready and was feeling nervous but ok. When it came time for my grand performance, I checked my clipboard, looked up at my fellow actor and said;

"I know all about that party, my DODEL goes to the local high school."

End of my acting debut and career. The following year I DID NOT take drama.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

If you wanna know if he loves you so....

I know that my husband loves me! How? Well yes he does tell me but he also shows me in the little things he does-he is a pretty great husband. The proof is in the pudding, and here is the pudding;
1. When we buy Snack chocolate, he passes me the block and says to eat all the pieces I want and just give him what I don't want.
2. Whenever Carter gets croup at night-he ALWAYS takes him to the hospital and sleeps there at nights.
3. He doesn't mind when I get on my little 'hobby obsessions and get a one track mind for beading/baking/card making/ sewing/scrapbooking and the list goes on and on and on. I devote huge amounts of time to the flavor of the week then completely abandon it 2 weeks later.
4. He unwraps my gum for me before he passes it to me.
5. When he comes home and sees it's been a rough day, he tells the boys to get their shoes cos they are going to the park.
6. If our TV shows clash-he will tape his and let me watch mine.
7. He will carry 16 shopping bags at once so I don't have to carry any.
8. He always vacuums cos he knows I hate it.

And this is just to name a few!
I, on the other hand, ALWAYS empty out the tupperware containers with leftovers in them that have been forgotten about at the back of the fridge. You know the kind, the ones where you don't breathe at all while you are emptying them or you will dry reach.
I guess you could say we're even!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

You gotta pick your battles!

I truly believe that in life (especially life with children) you have to pick your battles. Why? because if you don't pick your battles-then it seems EVERYTHING is a battle.
I have tried to battle nose picking-especially in public.
End result: failed. Hence I have decided to take it as a positive-at least my children have learnt to clean something on their own, even if it is their nose.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Good mothering??

It is school holidays and these holidays have left me wondering about good mothers. Do mothers EVER feel like they are 'good Mothers'? Even those mothers who look like they have it all together. I know we all love our children and only want the best for them, but it's more than that that makes a good parent right? 
I used to look at the child throwing a tantrum at the shops and wonder what their parents were doing wrong. Then...I became a parent myself!!
There is clearly no secret formula and what works for one child has zero effect on another. I do wonder at the end of some days whether or not I am a good mother though-cos some days I certainly dont feel it!
Locking myself in the bathroom for a few minutes peace DOES NOT make me feel like a good mother.
A bag of Cheezels and 2 minute noodles for lunch DOES NOT make me feel like a good mother. 
Putting my boys to bed and realizing I forgot to brush their teeth DOES NOT make me feel like a good mother.
But then I began to wonder if even good mothers feel this same way. Don't we all worry about the fine line between giving our children nice things and spoiling them? Are our discipline methods too tough or too relaxed? Should I bother wiping those handprints off the sliding door knowing they will probably end up back there tomorrow? If I shove toys under the bed for now rather than putting them away, will it really matter? Is fairybread considered a sandwich or more of a dessert?
So what is it that makes a good mother?
Maybe it's simply the fact that we worry about being good mothers that is the sign of a good mother after all.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

This time a while ago....

I have been incredibly slack in my blogging but it was cos I was having trouble with Blogger....nothing personal to all you guys...I havent forgotten you all :o)
I was looking at some old files on the computer and came across my conference talk I gave two years ago. I hadnt been out of hospital all that long so Anthony and I drove up to Newcastle, I walked to the stage just in time for mytalk, gave it, and walked off the stage and drove home lying down the whole way. I found it really interesting to see where my head was at at that point in time. You don't have to read on...but I posted it up here of you wanna read know, for old times sake!

Good Evening Brothers and Sisters,

Last year I had a school friend of mine come and visit and she reminded me of a conversation we had when we were only 15. We were discussing our “big” plans for the future and she remembers me saying that I wanted to be married at a certain age, have my first child at a certain age, and that I wanted to be a full-time stay-at-home mum who took my children to the park and baked.
It is nearly 10 years on from this conversation and whilst the basic structure of my life has in fact followed my “plans”, many of the details are so different. I did marry my wonderful husband who is a wonderful father and example for our sons to follow. We had our first son Tony not too long after but my plans of being a stay-at-home mum were altered as I was studying full-time and I felt strongly that I should complete my degree-even if this meant taking Tony to class with me at times. When we decided to have baby number 2, I was in the final year of my degree and was pleased to know that I would finish just before Carter was born. I was really looking forward to being able to spend my days with my children rather than in classes.
Of course life rarely seems to follow our plans and a month after Carter was born I had x-rays of my back as I had been having pain. Five years earlier I had the majority of my spine fused together in a major operation due to severe scoliosis and as it turned out the titanium rods in my back had snapped. I had no idea what this meant for us but to even see a surgeon either publicly or privately was nearly a year long wait and with my pain increasing constantly and a newborn baby and a toddler-this seemed like a lifetime.
After many prayers and fasting, I felt somewhat at ease despite not knowing what lay ahead. A blessing assured me that I would have the best doctors but that seemed impossible as I couldn’t even get in to see them and those I could get in to see had a huge wait. After some sneaky planning we found a way to get an orthopaedic surgeon to see me and after being told it was out of his league he referred me to his superior, who again referred us to someone higher up. This man was a Professor who had operated on spines for over 30 years and whilst waiting to see him I felt some relief that we were finally getting somewhere after months of appointments. What happened next confirms to me that our Heavenly Father certainly has a sense of humour. My name was called in the waiting room and I looked up to see a man who was without a doubt at least 70! He had shaky hands; his entire right arm shook and he shuffled instead of walked. I clearly remember thinking to myself: “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!”
The old Professor told me that although 99 percent of fusions like mine are a success, I was the 1 percent who’s failed and over the past 5 years the stress on the rods and screws caused them to break. The only solution was to have the surgery re-done-and this was my worst case scenario. On the plus side, he no longer operated himself and said even if he did, he wouldn’t be able to fix me. The only surgeon in NSW, perhaps even Australia, who could happened to be the same man who wasn’t taking any new patients as he was booked up well into the next year. I felt as though all the trouble and effort and time spent seeing these 3 specialists had been for nothing and wondered why would my Heavenly Father let me waste all this time and money like this?
In Matthew Chapter 6 Christ is teaching and in verse 30 he says:

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Essentially, he is saying, if our Heavenly Father cares for the grasses of the field, don’t you think he will take care of his children?
He goes on in the next 2 verses to say:

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

Looking back at my own thoughts, I see how little faith I had in my Heavenly Father to think that he had led me to that point only to end up back where I had started. The Professor went on to tell me he knew this other surgeon very well and he would arrange for me to see him in the next 2 or so weeks. Our Heavenly Father who loves us and knows our hearts will always care for us, even when we don’t see it.
When I saw this next surgeon the news only got worse and as well as having all the old hardware removed and replaced, I needed a complete reshaping of my spine by breaking my spine in several places and to have the fusion extended as my lower spine was riddled with arthritis. Recovery was going to be long and painful and we couldn’t be sure whether or not there would be subsequent surgeries required in the future.
The surgeon brought in colleagues of his from other hospitals who he considered to be the best and after a 12 hour surgery with only a couple of complications (punctured lung), the surgeon achieved all he had hoped for. The first 5 days I remember very little of, except for the pain and hearing my husbands voice now and again. Several weeks after surgery I was out of hospital but ended up back in hospital with a cerebral spinal fluid leak that meant I had to stay flat on my back (without even a pillow) or I would get an agonising pain in my head and vomit. It was such an awful pain that I would avoid drinking anything in an effort to minimise trips to the toilet. The condition does heal itself but doctors could give me no clue as to when-whether it were days, weeks, or months.
During this time I found myself getting very discouraged and asking why did there have to be more, wasn’t the surgery enough without this too? It had been weeks and weeks of absolute bed rest and by now I was supposed to be starting a little water therapy for my back but couldn’t. I prayed and pleaded to my Heavenly Father to bless me, that I would at least be healed of the spinal fluid leak. I had the faith to be healed so why couldn’t he just heal me?
I got my answer and knew straight away that I was showing little faith in our Heavenly Father. The answer was simply: “I am blessing you, but you need to be patient, as I am blessing you in the way I know is best-according to my plan.”

Elder Neil A Maxwell said:

“Patience is tied very closely to faith in our Heavenly Father. Actually, when we are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we know what is best-better than does our God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than His.”

I know I can think of many examples in my life where I have asked for the Lord to bless me - and have then proceeded to tell Him exactly how to do it. When we truly have faith amidst our trials, we will still seek the Lords blessings, but we seek to be blessed according to HIS will. It takes great faith to pray to our Heavenly Father with the attitude of “Not as I will, but as though wilt”. This kind of faith can change circumstances-this doesn’t necessarily mean the trial is taken from us but rather our ability to endure it is changed and often strengthened.

Elder Dallan H Oaks teaches us:

“Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best. Sometimes a “healing” cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are “healed” by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us”.

During our trials we can forget how the Lord has blessed is and continues to bless us. In simply asking to be healed I had completely dismissed the many blessing that had been poured out upon my family and I. The blessing I had received months earlier telling me I would get the best doctors had seemed impossible at the time but it had in fact happened, we had many kind members praying and fasting on our behalf, our families provided support and care for us without our even having to ask, and the cost financially has been unnoticeable, to name a few.
So what does it mean to truly have faith when facing our trials? Firstly it means remembering that our Father in heaven is in control and knows what we are going through. Having faith means having COMPLETE confidence and trust in Him. Trusting in Him and in His plan is only part of having faith though-the second part is certainly the harder part, and that is submitting ourselves WILLINGLY to his plan. This of course seems easy when that plan involves all the joy that life has to offer. Submitting ourselves to heartache, pain, sorrow, loss and loneliness are a different thing entirely.
Sometimes the things we may be going through seem to be so painful and so burdensome we can’t even see how it could possibly be for our own good. It is these times that our faith is truly tested, but also when our faith is needed the most. Our Area President who is enduring his own personal trial at the moment, Elder David S Baxter, addresses this by saying:

“At moments of crisis and challenge, some choose to abandon faith at the time when it most needs to be embraced. Prayer is ignored at the very hour when it needs to be intensified. Virtue is carelessly tossed aside when it needs to be cherished. God is forsaken in an all-too-human, yet mistaken, fear that He has forsaken us”.

We hear many accounts of faithful saints who have been so ill there is no question in the minds of doctors they will not survive, but through the power of prayers and blessings, and through faith, they have been healed. Just as the scripture promised “their faith hath made thee whole”.
But what of those equally faithful saints who have also prayed unto the Lord to heal their loved ones physically, or to perhaps heal the hearts of spouses or children whose choices are causing emotional and spiritual pain for all involved, but their prayers have not resulted in the complete healing they have faithfully prayed for?
There is a lot we can learn from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and their faith, even facing death. Upon their refusal to worship the golden idol as commanded by King Nebuchadnezzar, he told them they would be cast into the fiery furnace. The King then asked them:

“And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”

With complete faith – meaning complete trust and confidence in the will of their God – the young men answered saying;

“If it be so, if you cast us into the furnace, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand.”

They knew without any doubt what the Lord was capable of and that he could deliver them from a fiery death. But as I said before, having faith in our trials is more than knowing God is in control, it is submitting ourselves to His will, whatever that may be, and these 3 young men had that kind of faith. They continued on saying;

“But if not….we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou has set up”.

This is true faith. Of course they wouldn’t have wanted to be thrown into the furnace to die, and I’m sure they hoped the Lord would deliver them, but they had such faith in the Lord they knew that if that didn’t happen, it was at His will and that as Joseph Smith was told in Doctrine and Covenants Section 122 at the end of verse 7;

“…..if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and it shall be for thy good.”

Our Heavenly Father knows we are capable of so much more than we ourselves think and sometimes the only thing we may learn from a particular trial is that we are able to endure something we never thought possible. We may think we have big plans for ourselves, plans that seem great to us, but our Heavenly Father’s plans for us are even greater. During the many reading hours I have had recently, I came across this passage from C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity which really helped me to understand why we go through the difficult experiences we face throughout life. He wrote;

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace.”

Part of our coming to earth was about experiencing all manner or mortal life, love, joy, happiness, but also pain, sorrow, and despair. Unfortunately they come hand in hand, why else would we grieve the loss of a loved one unless we actually got to experience the blessing of loving them.
Those obstacles we have before us, some bigger than others, are not all they seem. Without faith they will simple be stumbling blocks, just a difficult period in our life that we had to suffer through. When we face our trials with faith, they become stepping stones, bringing us closer to being WITH our Heavenly Father and becoming LIKE our Heavenly Father.
I would like to bear my testimony that no matter what trials we face in life, they are all designed to refine is and to help us meet our ultimate potential. Like any parent would, I know our Heavenly Father suffers when He sees us suffer but His love for us and His desire for us to become better prevents Him from stepping in and removing our trials from us. I am so grateful thet I have an Heavenly Father who strengthens me through my trials and I know that when we show faith when we are facing our trials, He will help us endure them with hope and patience. I would like to close with a quote from George Q Cannon that I hope can provide reassurance to us all amidst our trials;

“No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. He is an unchangeable being; the same yesterday, the same today, and He will be the same throughout the eternal ages to come. We have found that God. We have made Him our friend, by obeying His Gospel; and He will stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them, if we only trust in our God and keep His commandments.”
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.