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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell
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From heels to hearts

Today husband and 10-year old have a Scout Rendezvous ,  15-year has a cross-country meet and I have a minor-surgery I am still mending from.  I was in my pj’s resting on the couch while everyone else was bustling about getting ready to go.  10-year old finished first and cuddled with me on the couch.  He noticed my calloused heel and rubbed it with his finger.  He asked why I had, “Old heels.”  I told him it was from going barefoot then I told him that my mom never went barefoot but she had calloused heels from the sandals she wore.  It is interesting how conversations develop.  From calloused heels to kind hearts:


I was in 6th grade and 2nd baseman on a softball team.  I could hit and catch well but I could not throw very far.  2nd base was the perfect spot for someone with a weak arm.  There were a couple girls on my team that could hit, catch, throw, run…they were all-stars.  One of the all-stars was in my 6th grade class.  Before softball this girl never paid attention to me. Once softball started, however, she started digging into me.  Daily.  Every chance she got.  One day the taunting seemed particularly bad.  I did not know how to handle it., I needed my mom.  I don’t remember how I was able to check out of school – I do remember walking home only to find it locked and empty.  I sat on the back porch and cried.  Once composed I walked back to school.  That evening I  told mom about my day.  She told me that the girl was acting out of envy.  I could not fathom that to be true – this girl was an all-star after all.  Mom said, in essence,  there is always more going on in someone’s life than what is apparent on the surface.  She told me to use that to filter the mean comments and return them with kindness.  She said I did not have to be the girl’s friend but I did have to be kind.


It was my first year in college I ran into all-star’s mom at the store.  She seemed genuinely pleased to see me.  She told me that all-star had been struggling since graduation and asked if I would go visit her.  She said that all-star had always looked up to me and a visit would mean so much.  I was in college but I was not grown-up.  I thought more of my desires than the needs of another – I did not visit.  I wish now that I had.


10-year old left with dad.  15-year left with his team.  I was left with thoughts of my conversation with 10-year old. 


My oldest was in 1st grade.  He was a quiet, obedient little boy and an easy target for bullying.  [A mother told me, when my son and her son were older, that her son and his friends did not like how well-behaved my son was and tried their hardest to get him in trouble or at least make him mad.]  When my son told me what was happening we discussed possible appropriate responses and then I told him what my mom told me – you don’t have to be their friend but you need to be kind.  My son was kind.  But unlike the childhood me, he made the goal to be a friend to everyone – regardless.  One day he was walking down the hall and some kids mockingly said, “Well there’s Mr. Rogers.”  My son smiled and said, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”  The kids laughed and called him Mr. Rogers in a friendly way from then on.  Someone stole the odometer off his bicycle.  He was pretty sure who it was.  The next day he handed the odometer-cable to the person he suspected and said, “You’ll need this for the odometer to work.”  Senior year my son was voted best personality for his graduating class.  Just prior to leaving for his mission a man came into the gas station where my son worked.  He said that his son (a classmate and former elementary school bully) had always looked up to my son.  He said that his son was in prison and would appreciate correspondence from my son.


My second son was in Kindergarten.   He came home one day and said, “Z punched me and asked if it hurt.  I gave him a monkey-bite (a really hard pinch) and said, ‘I don’t know.  Does this hurt?’”  Quandary.  I was glad he stood up for himself but a monkey-bite is not necessarily kind.  I told him that we needed to call his teacher and tell her what happened.  I explained that it was better for her to hear from him that he gave Z a monkey-bite rather than hearing it from Z.  Second son still stands up for himself.  However, he also stands up for others.  In 8th grade he was nominated, by his peers, for the Hero award – the student that makes the school a better and safer place to be.


My third son was in 1st grade.  He burst into tears when I came to pick him up after school.  T had spit in his hair during music.  My son was on the riser just below T.  It was close-range, messy, deliberate spit.  I asked if he had told the teacher.  He said that the teacher did not like tattling.  I told him that there was a difference between tattling and informing the teacher of truly inappropriate behavior.  I took his hand and told him we needed to talk to his teacher.  He was hesitant and then said, “Well, I might have punched him in the stomach.”  I asked if that was before or after the spit.  He said it was after – in response to the spit.  Still holding his hand I told him we definitely needed to talk to the teacher.


In response to my complaints of injustice my mom would frequently say the offender was, “more to be pitied than censured.”  Sometimes that frustrated me.  I wanted the pity and felt censured by her statement.  Now I understand the gift she was offering me. 

Luke 6:38: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”



 http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-merciful-obtain-mercy?lang=eng  "The Merciful Obtain Mercy" a great article by Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the 1st Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints . 


Article  Excerpt:  The Bottom Line:

"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.”

We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?

Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?"



Random things that made me smile

My 80-year old neighbor and her 3 daughters are on a two week vacation in Italy.  The night before the trip my neighbor left a voice-mail message saying that she was bringing a part of my mother, a part of her mother and a part of Norm to Italy with her.  My mother's blouse, her mother's ring and a picture of Norm.  When my husband and boys heard the message they wanted to know why she was bringing a picture of my brother Norm with her.  They did not know her deceased husband is also named Norm.


15-year old told me that a girl on his cross country team looks just like a younger version of me.  I asked if he thought she was cute.  His response, "Mom, that is just disturbing."


This fall I was asked to be asst. soccer coach for my 10-year old's team.  I now understand what makes a good vs. bad throw-in, I understand the what and why of off-sides and what constitutes a foul.  A little knowledge makes games much more exciting to watch.


19-year old missionary is currently living in the basement apartment of a couple who have a daughter on a mission in the Philipines.  The wife sent me a brief e-mail regarding my son: 

"...I watched him leave to work the other day, tall and steady, and thought how I wish you could see him.  The power and courage that I felt from these two young men touched my heart.  I thought what a blessing it is for me to watch your son while another mom may be watching my daughter..."

What more could a mom ask.

Feeling itchy

15-year old’s arm was itchy.  There was a line with red bumps that looked like classic bed-bug bite pictures I have seen online.  Dreading what he might find I asked him to check his bed.  He did not see anything to cause concern.  A few nights later he spent the entire night dreaming that he was being bitten by bugs.  That morning he had lines of red bumps on his leg.  I told him to check his bed again for any sign of bed-bugs.  While he was checking I realized that poison oak also follows a line where the branch initially hits.  I took him over to the neighbor's where we were told that he definitely had poison oak.  Online I read that a baking-soda/vinegar paste scrubbed onto the affected areas followed by a shower helps the itch and pain.  15-year old was itchy on his arms, back and legs.  He scrubbed down and then showered.  He said it helped considerably.  He probably picked the poison oak up during cross-country practice doing a mountain run.  He still goes on the runs so we may be making more paste in the future.


I am grateful:

1) That 15-year old doesn't let the very real possibility of more poison oak hinder him from doing something he loves.

2) That baking soda/vinegar paste was suggested.


3) Last but by far not least - that we do NOT have bed-bugs.

yes. no. yes. final answer no.....actually yes.

Last Thursday our Elementary school held a "meet the teacher". 10-year old and I met the teacher, found 10-year old's desk, loaded supplies into the desk and met some classmates.

This morning, first day of school, I told 10-year old I assumed he wanted me to drop him off rather than come in with him.  He said he wanted me to come in with him.  A few minutes later he said to just drop him off.  And then it was go in with him.  Walking out to the car he said, "Final answer, drop me off."  In the car he asked me to take the route dad thinks is faster rather than my usual route.  As I put the indicator on to dad's direction he said, "Wait, no, mom's direction!"  I laughed and said, "You seem kind of nervous."  He said, "I meant dad's way and actually would you come in with me?"

Conversely 15-year old spent the morning singing as he got ready for school and left with a big smile on his face.

Breeze answered

Due to school construction our district had an extended summer this year.  Alas that has come to an end.  Tomorrow is the first day of school.  Recently turned 15-year old starts his first year of High School, 10-year starts his last year of Elementary School.  Everything will soon be routine but tonight has the feel that the breeze was carrying that I could not put my finger on at the time.

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