Stop It

A few recent events have got me thinking about how we treat each other, most especially the strangers we come near to, but don’t interact with and the internet we use to show our ugly side.

Last week my sister was in her car, at a stop light, when she looked over to find the passenger of the other car taking a picture of her with their phone. The passenger quickly retreated back in the seat when they made eye contact with my sister. This upset her. Why had that person taken a picture of a stranger? What would they do with it? You have to wonder that nowadays, will that picture now be a meme, meant as funny and possibly could be but at the expense of someone else? Or could it have been innocent enough – the individual taking the picture liked my sister’s haircut and wanted to do the same with their hair? Who knows – we never will.

The other incident was a post on Facebook. A friend had recorded, what I presumed was a stranger, dancing at a church event he was attending. If you know me, you know I appreciate those who can dance as though no one is watching, even though they are in the middle of a crowded room. I commented on the post to show my appreciation. The comments that followed however did not seem to be as positive, but not mean. Then a particularly mean spirited comment was posted, one that went on to attack the boy dancing, despite him being a stranger to the person who posted. The comment after that was from a friend of the boy dancing, who then tagged him in the video.  I noticed not long afterwards that the mean spirited comment had been deleted and more of the boy’s friends were positively commenting on the video. I checked back before posting this entry and there are so many positive comments and my friend explained that he had shown the video to the guy before posting it, and that they got along really well.  But the thing I am focused on is that one ugly, deleted comment.  

Because my point here folks, is that who we are and how we treat each other is, “never checked at the door” as Elder Holland would say.  I’m not here to preach how perfect I am and how imperfect the rest of the world is – I am just as guilty. I’ve been to; laughed at awkwardfamilyphotos; I make judgments on people who don’t follow the rules of common decency and walk on the correct side of the aisle at the store; I’ve poked fun at the pictures or videos of strangers doing strange things. But that’s beside the point, I shouldn’t do those things, none of us should. And with the internet it seems all too easy to put someone down.

Before the boy was tagged in the video it was easy for someone to post mean things, even though it was not anonymous like most websites where people troll. But the moment the boy received an identity, those commenting with identities (and profiles to display much more about them than just their names) retreated. Why is it that when we or the person we are commenting on lacks an identity we find it so much easier to be cruel?

We should strive to be kind always, otherwise how can we consider ourselves kind? I’m not saying we don’t slip, we lose patience from time to time, someone hurts us and our instinct is to fight back, with things like that we strive to be better after each failure (or at least we should), we apologize as best we can to the person we were ugly to. But what about what we post on social media? What we say about that stranger on YouTube who posted a video or had a video posted about them?  It’s almost worse online because we type our means thoughts. We type them and then we have one more chance to take them back, to erase them from ever being written but many times we hit SEND without a second thought. We hide behind a computer or phone screen and make snap judgments on a person we know nothing about.

I work with the youth at church, so this isn’t something new I’m thinking about – it’s just that recently I’ve seen (maybe realized) adults act the same as teenagers with cyber bullying.  One quote shared with the youth more than once in the past few years is from President Dieter F. Uchdorft from a conference talk a few years ago:

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

Might I suggest that we can change “sin” on that bumper sticker to anything: dance, dress, speak, look, think, etc.

I know I want to be better about how I treat people, those I know and love (and those I know and don’t love so much) but especially strangers.  I think we can learn a lot about ourselves by the way we treat those we do not know and do not have to look in the face while or after we have said things about them.  Be kind when you’re out and about (and if you see my sister, don’t take a picture.  She really didn’t like that), be kind when you’re on Facebook, snapchat, and other social media, be kind at home, work, school, even Wal-Mart.  And strive to be the kind of person people can trust when their back is turned to you.

And because I love Elder Holland so much and feel that one quote in a blog post isn’t enough – here’s one more.


Googleimages –

Toddler Crafts

In keeping with my goals – here is my Pinterest project of the week (it won’t always be Pinterest…but considering how many pins I have it will mostly be Pinterest…have I said Pinterest enough in this post?)

The Old Woman That Swallowed the Fly

I got the idea from Serving Pink Lemonade who had a link to Sunflower Storytime which is where I got the printout.

I used self lamenting sheets I got at Target but also found on Amazon. And Velcro circles I got at Walmart. I already had the Velcro from when I made Stormy’s quiet book. One change I made was I put the words on the back so I could have them if I didn’t remember.

Also, this is my first time with set laminating sheets and I didn’t realize I needed to cut the print out how I wanted it before laminating it. But it’s okay because I’ve decided to put it in a binder with hopefully other Pinterest pins to come.

I also started Stormy’s PECS notebook. My nephew had one these when he was younger to help him with learning to speak so I figured we’d cut down on frustration at the house and give Stormy another form of communicating in addition to his limited verbal and sign. He already saw the picture of popcorn and asked (verbally) for popcorn at snack time.  It’s so cute the way he says “popcorn” and “please”

I already have a ton more to add to the food page, but this is the start.

In with the new…belated

Usually I post my new goals on New Years Day.  Not this year.  I think mostly because I struggled coming up with goals.  Every year I give myself ten goals, mostly due to the (undiagnosed) touch of obsessive compulsive disorder I have.  I have these goals and then I forget about them and I usually luck out if I complete any of them.  So this year, it seems that I will be breaking many of my  resolution traditions, and will not be giving myself ten goals.  I’ve also decided that for this year I am going to go along with the church’s theme for the youth – ASK, instead of making up my own.  It seems I’ve turned into quite the lazy person since becoming a mom.  So here are my goals for 2017.

  1. Finish Personal Progress.  I’m pretty close and just need to do a few more experiences, so why not, right?  Plus, I could be released from my calling any time this year, and I’d like to finish it before I’m released, but even if I get released I’d still like to finish it.
  2. Writing – at the conference this past year I attended a session on good writing habits.  One lady said she has a goal of writing 100 words a day, if she writes more that’s great but she has committed to 100 a day.  I think I can do that.
  3. Journal/Blog Writing –  I’ve been TERRIBLE at both and want to be better.  I used to write in my journal EVERY day! Of course that was before college, but I feel certain I can at least get in once a week.
  4. Have Family Home Evening – I’ve kind of been doing this, but when I got pregnant it all just stopped.  Mostly because I feel like no one is getting anything out of it.  But I do know if I continue, the habit will be there for when people do start getting things (and by people I mean Stormy).  To help, I even ordered a book with 52 ideas for young families.
  5. Do something new each week.  Do you know how many pins I’ve pinned on Pinterest?  If pins were food I could solved world hunger.  So I want to take at least one a week and try something new!
  6. Get the house ready to sell! That’s right!  We think we might be ready to move in Spring 2018, but there’s a lot to do before we can sell.  Mostly this goal will be me bossing Chewy around because I am fully aware I won’t be that helpful with physical things for a while.

That’s it.  It truly pains me to have 6 goals and not 10.  I even considered just stopping at 5 so that I had half of ten.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  But hopefully I’ll stay on top of these goals and start getting things done, instead of pulling them up in December and thinking, “yeah, I guess I kind of did that one.”

Don’t Stop Believing

Today I had the opportunity to help out at the Special Olympics, RVA style.  I’ve done this several times before and this year was my second time as a youth leader in charge of some teenage girls.  We kind of found out about it last minute so I only had four girls sign up but that was okay with me, less people to keep track of!

Love these girls
We got put to work on the field passing out water and directing athletes where to go
After all the races were finished we went to cheer on the athletes at the awards ceremony
Then we went into the arena and ran into the Richmond Spider (I hate spiders)
This young man saw the girls getting a picture with the Spider and asked me to take his but he doesn’t have email or a phone and he couldn’t find his coach…if you know him, please pass this photo on to him.

When we went into the arena, this kid was belting out “Don’t Stop Believing”.  It was fantastic!

The whole day was exhausting but a lot of fun.  I think all of us ended up a little sunburned.  We finished earlier than we thought so I got all the girls milkshakes while we waited for their parents to arrive.

I absolutely loved working with the athletes and other volunteers.  It’s great to see the athletes accomplish their race, cheer on their friends, and show great sportsmanship.  It was incredibly hot today and they all did such a great job and I’m glad we were there to help them stay hydrated and to be a part of their proud moments with them.   I can’t wait until I can do this again!



On the Prowl

As we were eating dinner Saturday night, the cat (his Christian name is Attila but I usually call him “the cat”) came into the kitchen meowing. Then he gave a long, loud meow that didn’t sound like him it actually caused goosebumps to run up my arms.  I leaned over to see what was wrong and discovered he wasn’t meowing. Chewy and I exchanged looks of alarm, then I warily peeked out the window to see a grey and white cat sitting in front of my car, beckoning to us to either let him in or send our cat out. The meow itself had been creepy, add to it that the sun had already set and the cat was meowing at our side door, the one we use most.

Chewy started to freak out, saying the cat was evil and sinister and under no circumstance should I feed it (because the little girl inside of me wanted to keep the cat, even if it weirded me out a bit). We got Stormy ready for bed and I kept running back to the window to check on our little friend, who at this point looked as though he were dramatically laying across the driveway with a paw at his head.  At some point, Chewy had said his first thought was that a person was outside our house meowing, because it had been so loud and stressed.

I found myself being more scared than usual when I would hear a noise, like a light tapping against our back door, which currently has no steps leading up to it, or when I would look out a window, not certain if I would see the cat closer to the house or right up on the window…or worse, a person.  Chewy’s insane thoughts about the cat being evil and sinister had entered my mind and I realized for the first time that it might be scarier inside his mind than my own…and that’s saying a lot…I freak myself out all the time.  Even as I lay in bed Saturday night I would hear a creak in the hallway and my heart would race with the thought that somehow this cat had gotten into our home.

Sunday, when we returned home from dinner at my parents’ house, the cat was sitting on our side porch, staring at us as though he’d been waiting for our arrival.  Chewy was not happy – I promised I hadn’t fed him.  He “ran away” two feet and then stopped and watched us as we got out of the car.  That’s when I saw a bunny frozen in the grass.  I was torn, the cat was creepy but I needed to buy the bunny time to get away, the last thing I needed was for this cat to murder a bunny in front of Chewy.  Chewy’s main concern was keeping the cat away from us.  So we were at odds with each other, Chewy trying to scare the cat away and me trying to keep his attention on us.  Chewy won and the cat turned to run further into our backyard, the bunny bolted and then the cat went after it.  I made desperate noises trying to get the cat’s attention, and it worked! Though to Chewy’s relief it didn’t work so well that the cat actually came toward us.

When we got inside I ran to our room to look out the back window…just to make sure that cat hadn’t gotten the bunny.  He was sitting on our stage (I think it was supposed to be a gazebo) staring at me.  **Pardon the grass and mess, it’s been raining like crazy here and I hadn’t been able to mow for a long time**

I haven’t seen him today, though I went to the backyard to mow the lawn and I was genuinely scared that he would pop out from beneath the shed, or that I would turn around to find him watching me.  And yet – I’m kind of sad I didn’t see him.

You’ve Got to Fight For Your Right…

To Party!

So I’m trying something new, Facebook parties seem to be all the rave these days.  Therefore I’m actually going to attempt one.  I’m excited and nervous because it could flop, but at least I’m trying something new.

The best part is, people don’t have to be local so I’ve been able to invite people from all over.  If you have any interest in checking it out here are the links:

Facebook Party – I’ll be posting information and demos throughout next week.

Ordering Page – To view the catalog and make an order

I’m doing a point system (info on the page) to get people to interact and earn points toward a FREE body pack.  I absolutely love the body cloths and will be sharing some information on them next week!

It’s not about the nail

I was going through my drafts and saw this post. I guess I was afraid to post it because the thought processe was incomplete. But I’ve decided to post anyway. 

I have a confession.

The other day I snapped at my husband. I had told him we were ready for dinner. “We” being Stormy and I because I wanted to try eating together as a family. After several minutes I looked over and Chewy was still on the couch, looking at something on his cellphone. I said quietly to Stormy, “we’ll just say our own little prayer” and Chewy said, “what did you say about me?” And I snapped. I told him what I said and that I wasn’t trash talking him to our son…though if I’m being honest it was a nameless trash talking, I was annoyed that he was on his phone.

I immediately felt terrible for snapping. To him, and to me, it seemed to come out of nowhere. I apologized but the evening was tainted.

We are perfectly fine now. I think this might be normal in most marriages (and close friendships too). I had every intention of never sharing that story. That is until two things happened.

The first was a conversation with my best friend last night. I don’t have the details and even if I did they wouldn’t be mine to post, but suffice it to say on one or two levels it was similar. I confessed my irrational snapping  as I tried to understand and relate to the information I had on her situation. Mostly I wanted her to know that it’s normal. It’s normal to be irrational and crazy from time to time. NOT to say we shouldn’t work on not being crazy and irrational but it’s not a fail just because you get it wrong from time to time, it’s learning.

The second thing, Tracie reposted this blog the next day.  She divorced me because I left dishes by the sink

From the title I expected to find a guy who had been married to someone with incredibly unrealistic expectations, or some kind of “not really” article where the dishes were some deep allegory.  But I thought I’d read anyway.  And I suppose I kind of found that.  The article is well written and couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  Not because I snapped at my husband, that will probably happen again, I’m crazy and I embrace this. But it was well timed with the conversation with my friend.

How many times have I expected that my husband knew what I was thinking?  Not as a conscious thought but unconsciously.  I catch it after the fact, just like I understood why I snapped days after it happened.  In fact, I didn’t fully understand it until I confessed it to my friend.  It was as simple as the words coming out as I texted her (Chewy was asleep on my shoulder so no phone calls – thank goodness for texting or I’d never converse with people).  I typed, “I felt ignored”.  Was I mad he was on his phone? No.  Was I mad he didn’t come rushing in for dinner? No.  In fact, it goes deeper.  I felt ignored but mostly I had wanted to have dinner together as a family (which is hard to do when the youngest member eats at 5:30 and goes down by 6:30).  Stormy was hungry and fading fast and I felt time was short.  Had I ever SAID that OUT LOUD? NO!  I do this a lot and I know it’s a problem but I realize it afterwards.  Kind of like when I say the word “like” as a filler or in place of “thought”, “said”, “reacted”, etc.  Now the guy in the article figured it out on his own, but what would have happened if she had vocalized how she saw it?  Did she even understand how she saw it at the time?

When Chewy and I first got married he walked on eggshells expecting that when I said one thing I meant another and that I was secretly testing his mind reading abilities.  It took me months to get him to understand that I wasn’t doing that.  And yet, I realize that I DO.  I expect him to do the work I haven’t even done.  I expect him to figure out what is really bothering me, understanding that I am bothered by it and why I am when I don’t even know that myself.  I have this opportunity to be married to my best friend and I think I take for granted that we aren’t always on the same page, sometimes we’re not even in the same book.  It’s not because he doesn’t love me or I him, it’s because we are individuals with different feelings, thought processes, backgrounds, upbringings, cultures, etc. etc. etc.

I sent the article to my friend, almost before I even finished reading it.  She asked how we share this with the men to help them understand.  I think it’s great as an attempt to communicate, to try and explain that we think we’ve found the problem, but there isn’t much of a solution in the article, not for the women at least and for the men it’s still asking them to read our minds.  We can’t get them to understand, we can’t change the way they see it.  THEY can change it if they’d like, but we can’t do that.  We never could.  It has to be a team effort to improve our communication with each other.

I don’t have any answers to this, I’m not an expert and I’ve only been married two years –  but what I do know is that it will be trial and error.  Relationships are incredible learning grounds with one very amazing advantage.  Our fellow student LOVES US.  It’s not a competition, it’s not a pass/fail course, it’s learning and growing together.  It’s committing with each other to do and be better.

For me (and I’m guessing for many, many women) good communication starts with figuring out what is actually bothering me.  Why do I get upset when Chewy says or does a certain thing is important to first understanding and then to try and explain it.  I think we would both be happier if I could figure out how to explain why something makes me feel a certain way, because “it’s not about the dish, it’s never about the dish.”  You can replace “dish” with anything.

Anyway those are my “deep thoughts” that I sat on for a long time.