As a family we read scriptures and have a family prayer at night before bed. I started this years ago when I was married to my former husband. He chose not to participate, so it was just me and my son Joshua for several years. After I married Steve, he and his son, Drew, started to read and pray with us. We sometimes miss a night here or these, especially as the boys have grown older and have social lives (the horror!), but overall we are pretty consistent.
I have read the Book of Mormon many, many times, both alone and with my family. I took a Book of Mormon class at BYU, studied it in Seminary, and studied it in Sunday School. Some of the stories have stuck in my brain, while others have not. The story of Sherem in Jacob Chapter 7 is one I do not remember, while the story of Korihor has always been one I do remember. (Maybe because a certain kid named David Clark teased me when we were in elementary school by calling me "Korihor" until I cried. When we were adults David apologized for his behavior, by the way.)
Why didn't I remember Sherem? This story is equally as important. Both Korihor and Sherem lied and desired to lead people away from God and the gospel. This bothered me, but I set that aside as we read.
In Chapter 7 of Jacob, I was amazed at what Jacob went through dealing with Sherem and the methods Sherem used to try to pull Jacob away. It struck a chord with me. Sherem was leading people away from God and the teachings of the gospel. He was flattering. He was determined. He was well educated. People liked him and many listened and left. Then Sherem turned his charm on Jacob. This made my skin crawl. It felt so familiar.
In verse 5 Jacob says: "And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken."
I think I had forgotten this story and when I read it this year it felt familiar because this is what my former husband did to me at the end of our marriage.
Until you have someone you care about (I'm not saying Jacob cared about Sherem like a relative or best friend, but I think he cared as a prophet and leader), you have no idea that Satan can really work this way. It is seriously creepy.
You should know I am not well spoken when it comes to arguments. I stink at them. I think of comebacks hours later. While I am fairly knowledgeable about the gospel and the scriptures, I have not had to really defend myself against a Sherem, except for with one person, my former husband. It was literally hell.
Truly, the only way I could defend myself against my former husband (who subsequently left the church and had his name removed from church records) was to tell him over and over basically what Jacob told Sherem. I had been blessed to see and witness many miracles I could not explain. God had spoken to me many times. The Holy Ghost had borne witness to me from a young age that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and this was the church I should belong to. I had seen angels and they had ministered to me. I could not deny what I had experienced and what I believed. I could not deny these things or God. I knew Satan was using him to try to get to me. I could feel it.
When I said these things, he stopped bothering me about it. He had no way to combat against my testimony. Like Jacob with Sherem, I did my best to defend myself. (I think Jacob did a better job, but I'll do better if there is a next time.)
It's no wonder this story was so familiar. It's no wonder it made my skin crawl. Feeling Satan speaking through someone is totally creepy, but feeling it through someone who once had the light of Christ, someone you loved and had a child with, is harrowing. I have never felt anything like it and hope never to again.
I am so grateful for the prophet Jacob for sharing this experience. There have been times I wish that God had given my former husband the sign he was looking for, like God did to Sherem or to Korihor. (He seriously deserves it.) I am watching our son waffle between my former husband's beliefs and world and mine. It is terrifying to watch. I pray daily (many, many times a day) that my son will see the truth and embrace it. I pray that he will be strong and have faith. I pray that he will be able to defend himself against someone like Sherem.
Today I am thankful for many people and things, not just because it's November, but because I think about this stuff!
I'm grateful for this funny kid who I've had to coerce or bribe to take a picture since he turned 14. J is so talented and smart. With so much potential, I am excited to see what he does with his life. I never thought about and worried about another person like I have him since he was born. I pray for him every day, multiple times a day. I had no idea what unconditional love was until J came into my life. He makes me a better person.
I'm grateful for my stepson D. He has come a long way in appreciating me and his dad in his life. He's funny and the life of any party with his stories and jokes. I never thought I'd have more kids and was so blessed with him. He is an amazing young man and he and J are brothers in every way. It's awesome.
I'm thankful for this guy. Steve and I are a match made in heaven (literally). It took heaven and earth to get us together over twenty years after he asked me out the first time! He is patient, kind, funny, sexy, hard-working, and spiritual. I am so blessed to be married and sealed to him!
When Heavenly Father was assigning each of us families I'm sure that he didn't give me a choice with this one. They needed me and I needed them, only He knew it and knew why. This picture represents only one sister and her family (with her hubby absent.) I have three more with many more adorable nieces and nephews. Love them all.
Hard to not be thankful for dogs. They keep me busy when I want to just sit. Something about a dog depending on you and loving you no matter what just tugs at my heart. We've had Oscar for twelve years. He was a shelter dog, so we really have no idea how old he is. He is the BEST dog I have ever had.
I am also grateful for jokesters. I do not drink soda usually. This was a joke I was playing on my sister, Nikki. Her name is boldly printed on this can to reserve it for her and her only. I was taking a selfie to send to her and tease her about drinking it. (I didn't.) My youngest brother, Truman, jumped in at the last minute. He is a jokester and notorious photo bomber. I LOVE that about him! He and I have had many laughs over the years with his photo bombing. We all need happy people like him in our lives.
I am super thankful for my health and the ability I have to run, walk, bike, etc. I've been running since my son was born. It has been such a blessing to me to leave my worries behind, think, ponder, and pray while I run. Plus I'm outside in the sun---my favorite!
I'm grateful for America. She is a beautiful, crazy melting pot of people and ideas. She's still the best country in the world, despite her flaws.
I am grateful for earth's beauty. It makes me happy and chills me out. I took this photo about 2 years ago and added the text later. I got to work that morning, parked my car, and looked up to see this gorgeous sky.
I took this photo at my favorite spot on earth in Duck Creek, Utah. Only a few people have been invited to go there with me. It is a lovely meadow where I sit and pray and reflect on life while my dogs run around thrilled with the wide open space. We need places like this to bring us peace and give us time to think and be away from people and technology.
I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him, I would not be the person I am. I am loved. I am forgiven. I am understood. He knows me and loves me, despite all of my faults. I love Him.
About four days before Eric Wayne Deuley died, I had a strong prompting to call him. Strong might be an understatement. It was a such an overwhelming feeling, that I physically swayed and had to grab onto a table. I didn't have his number. We hadn't spoken in about 26 years. The last time we spoke I told him I loved him, but I told him I loved someone else too. He was my first real love at 18. I never really got past him or over him. I ran from him the first time, hoping he would chase me. Hoping he would change, for me. Hoping. He never chased me like I wanted him to. He turned, hurt and upset. He did the same thing the second time. I never learn.
I would ask my cousin, his step mom, about him every summer at our family reunion. For most of the summers I asked it was bad news. Drugs. Homelessness. Divorce. Poverty. I would cry after I walked away from her. A small piece of my heart breaking. The voice in my head telling me I could have saved him or changed him or helped him. But I know that is not true. We make our own choices. We live with them. Even me. (My husband knows all of this, by the way. Steve is an amazingly understanding husband.) But if I somehow contributed to his pain, that is something I struggle to live with.
Some years it was good news. He got married. He bought a house. He had children. He was clean. He was working and making decent money. He was happier than he'd been in a long time. Especially the last few years. I was happy that he was happy. I was in a good place too.
So that day I looked Eric up on Facebook and found pictures of him happy and smiling with a woman. He looked older and different than I remembered him. He had been through a lot. His poor choices had led him down roads most of us would never dream of taking. The idea of calling him and disturbing his happiness, not to mention explaining it to my husband, kept me from calling. I was a coward, I admit it.
Four days later he was hit and killed while riding a motorcycle on the highway out by Hoover Dam.
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
I have yet to get over this or even around it.
I'm still healing.
Logically, it makes no sense. I step outside of myself and think, "Why are you so upset? You haven't seen him in years. You broke things off. You let him go not once, but twice. You moved on. You are happily married." But do we ever really move on? Really? Do we ever overcome a first, true love?
My eternal optimism (inherited from both of my parents) whispered to my heart over the years that someday Eric and I would get a second chance. Okay, a third chance. We tried the second chance and that didn't work. I sincerely thought we'd get one when we were old(er) and gray(er). That we would finally be in the same place and finally want the same things. That's not going to happen in this life. And THAT'S what makes me cry.
While I love, love, love my husband (who is perfect for me in every way), a part of me never stopped loving Eric. I wish I'd called him.
I know I will see him again in the next life. In fact, I believe he and I knew each other before our lives on this earth and that we were close friends. So that gives me hope. (Eternal optimist, remember?) And that hope makes me smile, because I know he would want me to. He would nudge me and make a wisecrack and look at me like, "What are you worried about girl? Stop yer cryin'."
I have had every intention of writing for the past 1 1/2 years. I cannot believe it's been that long! Life is so busy and my blog is the last thing I attend to on my very long daily list of things to do.
I've been writing here and there---a poem for my boys in my journal about my frustrations with them being teenagers. a mystery I'm excited about with a central character who is close to home, and some songs (usually in the morning when I'm waking up) that I sometimes write down and wish I did every time. They disappear like wisps of fog with the sun.
I've been memorizing "The Living Christ" for Girls' Camp this year. It has brought me so much closer to my brother and Savior, Jesus Christ, I can't believe it. I know Him more than I ever imagined and I am so grateful for what He's done for me.
I've been reading books and spending time with my guys. I love both the time I get to read and my guys!
I've been training for a half marathon. I'm loving it! Especially my new Altra shoes!
I've also been teaching and teaching and teaching. The year is almost over! I can't believe it!
Hope all is well with my blogging friends. I think of you and hope you are still writing too!
Steve's parents, Rhodell and Lamar Terry, rented a giant cabin in Pine Valley, Utah, for Thanksgiving this year. They had all 9 of their living children there, along with most of the grandchildren and some of the great-grandchildren. It was also their 50th wedding anniversary.
Lamar and Rhodell are my heroes. They were both divorced with children in the 1960's when they met. They not only created a family with their (6 combined) children, they went on to have 4 more! Steve is their youngest son. We are so grateful for their faith in God and dedication to Him and the gospel. They have been excellent examples for me and Steve as we have created our own combined family.
Below are some fun pics from the weekend.
Lamar, Rhodell, Steve and his siblings.
This one is our Christmas picture this
year. It didn't turn out as good in print as it did here. (But I loved the fireplace in this cabin! Amazing mantel. I had to get a picture in front of it.)
I look tired. I was. I ran 3 miles in 31 degrees that morning. I just about froze my legs off. This Vegas girl is not used to the cold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love the guys in this photo. Not me so much.
Gobs of grandkids!
You might ask, why the Bigfoot sign? Well, . . . someone in Pine Valley decided to create this lovely piece with the existing one. As of Thanksgiving weekend, it was still standing. Our boys got a kick out of it! I'd love to know who created it!
Photos: Corrina L. Terry, Chari Terry, & Hannah Mohler, Pine Valley, Utah, 2013.
See the beautiful building above? It's the LDS St. George Temple. My parents were married and sealed* there. My husband's parents were married and sealed there. Most of our ancestors back several generations were married and sealed there.
Steve and I chose to be sealed there because both of us had memories with our previous spouses in the Las Vegas Temple and because our family history connected us to this gorgeous white temple.
It was a great day.
I never thought it would happen.
We had both been through so much.
Unless you've been divorced you don't understand really, even if you've been around someone who went through a divorce.
It was the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest for both of us. We conquered every slope. We each fought our own demons to reach the top. We dodged landslides and endured blizzards. We made it though.
Steve is my best friend.
He is my second chance at love and marriage;
my greatest ally.
He makes me laugh every day
and listens to me when I need it.
I am so blessed to have him in my life.
So very, very blessed.
Copyright 2013 Corrina L. Terry
Pictures courtesy of: lds.org and Corrina L. Terry
*Sealed in the LDS religion means that you are married to someone not just for your time on earth, but forever. We believe that life does not end when we die. Our spirits lived with God before we came to earth and our spirits continue to live on after. If we live righteously we can be sealed to our spouses and children and live with them again.
LDS temples are used to perform this sacred sealing for both people living and those who have passed on.
Have you ever considered what a label does? On canned goods, it allows us to have an understanding about what is inside the metal can we can't see through. On a person at a conference or training, it shares a name. On food packaging, it shows how many calories and nutrients the item contains. Really helpful, right? Sure! But labeling people by their actions, especially children, is not so good.
Years ago, one of my sisters was working with the children under 12 years old at church. She was their music leader and worked hard every week to provide fun, spiritual songs and activities. The ward she was attending was fairly new to her, so she didn't know all of the children's names. One Sunday she leaned down to a small girl sitting in the front row and asked her what her name was. The girl replied, "Today my mom said my name is Messy." Her sad eyes and down turned mouth was enough to plant in my sister's mind the bad idea of negative labels, especially on children.
She shared this story with me and our mom and it struck a chord. I will never forget this story, even though it has been over 17 years since she told it. I often wonder what happened to that little girl and what labels her parents give her today. I don't mean to judge the parents of this little girl harshly, but if I could meet them I would like to ask them what they were thinking.
After my own son was born I was careful not to negatively label him, even in jest. I have noticed that my son (now a teenager) is particularly sensitive to the words people use about him and I feel that my sister's experience was not just for her benefit, but for mine and my son's benefit as well. (That's not to suggest I am a perfect mother by any means. I have made plenty of mistakes!)
That being said, there are good labels we can use---helpful, smart, happy, kind, fun, honest, brave, good, fast, strong, etc. These labels, when used sincerely, can help a child to grow and develop positively. One thing I have noticed from teaching is that children will grow into just about any label you give them.
Copyright 2013 Corrina L. Terry
Photo credit: Corrina L. Terry
J and 3 other Boy Scouts were lost out by Lake Mead while on a hike. A leader became ill and asked to stay behind the group to rest. My son and the other scouts had gone with the main group back to the cars, but then went back when that ill leader and scouts with him didn't arrive. They found the sick leader and went for help, got lost, and ran out of water, while my husband and the remaining scout leader tried desperately to find them and help the ill leader. The temperatures were over 112. I was at home, and then my parents' house, holding my cell phone and praying my heart out.
The boys could call me and 911, but they couldn't get through to the leaders and rescue teams who were so close to them. Eventually a rescue helicopter was brought in to save them. The boys were dehydrated, but fine. Our hearts are so heavy over their leader who didn't make it. We can't stop thinking about it or talking about it.
Ironically I had just given my testimony the previous Sunday about receiving answers to my prayers. After that testimony, I'd contemplated prayer and my prayers all week as I cleaned my classroom, entered grades, and turned in my keys at school. I'd also thought about my prayers as I ran in the early morning quiet. (I love to think while I run.) I have prayed for a great number of things in my lifetime and seriously felt people's prayers boost me up during sad times, but I never felt as prayerful for help as I did yesterday. I've also never had a son lost in the summer heat for hours without water before. In fact, J is hardly ever sick with a cold. We've been very blessed so far. Correction, we continue to be very blessed.
During all of the waiting and wondering yesterday afternoon, I went upstairs to my parents' room away from the chaos happening below and knelt down to pray. I poured my heart out. I talked with Heavenly Father about how I had prayed so hard for this son and had longed to be a mother, and after years of being barren, was blessed with him. I remembered why I had named him J. It means a spiritual warrior. I felt prompted even before he was born that he would be a boy and that was the name I should call him because he was a warrior for God. I remembered my promise on the day he was born that I would do my best by him, that I would raise him in the gospel, and that I would do all I could to love and protect him. I promised God I would be a better person than I ever had been with this brown eyed baby. He would be safe with me.
As I poured my heart out to the Lord, I felt comforted that J would be okay and that he was going through this trial with the other scouts to learn something. I felt calmer and more peaceful than I had felt all day. That helped me get through the agonizing waiting to hear the news that they'd been found.
Through all of this, our families, friends, and ward members called and texted support. Steve called me so upset he hadn't been able to find them. I told him it would be okay. I knew it would be. I just wanted my boy home safe and sound.
So I write today to express my thanks to Heavenly Father for prayer. I am so grateful it is an open communication He and I have. He listens and He loves me. If I thought I had a testimony of prayer before, I had only a small idea of it. My testimony of prayer has grown tenfold.
I am so thankful J is home safe and sound. I am so grateful for this blessing from God and that I have more time on earth with my son. My heart is heavy for the Bowman family. We continue to pray for them and hope they will find peace at this difficult time.
Corrina L. Terry Copyright 2013
Picture credit: Corrina L. Terry
I think Eddie Cochran said it right in his song, "Summertime Blues." "Sometimes I wonder what I'm a gonna do, But there ain't no cure for the summertime blues."
As a teacher, I really, really look forward to summer vacation. I love the freedom, the family reunions, the lounging around in the sun, reading books and not having to follow a schedule. For those very same reasons I dread summer. I love a schedule, I remember why I only see some family members once a year, I'm bored at home away from people and the bustle of a job, and I NEED a schedule!
When I brought up the "summer schedule" idea to my son, J, he stubbornly put his foot down. (Wonder where he got that from?) He told me having a schedule this summer would smother him. I replied that NOT having a schedule this summer was going to kill me! It was a battle of wills in the 4 Runner on the way home from school.
Both of us.
I gave in (a little) and told him that just a morning schedule would help me get things done so that we could have fun the afternoons. The schedule would be as follows---from 8:30-10:30 am the boys would be engaged in practicing their piano, working on merit badges for Boy Scouts, getting their chores done, and writing.
J was horrified by the writing option. He has decided at the mature age of 13 that he DETESTS writing and English classes in general. His handwriting is atrocious. He doesn't care. He labors to write essays. They are a form of medieval torture. He can't believe that I love to read and write stories and essays, much less teach those things. To him people like me are crazy. He is a math, science, and music whiz.
What he doesn't know is that while he excels in math, science, and music, he's actually a very good reader and writer. But writing takes time and energy. It's a craft that must be practiced and practiced. It's his patience that he can't stand right now. His interests are not in writing anything. Taking the time to use his giant, man-like hands to hold a slender pencil and put words to paper is a frustration. As an English teacher, I am horrified at the thought of one of my boys NOT enjoying writing! It's like a band teacher having children who hate music! Thus the idea of writing time was born in the Terry home. My hope is that with a lot of practice, he will at least grow more comfortable with it.
I gave the boys several choices: write a poem, song, short story or essay on a subject of your choice each day. (I never said how long they had to be. Let's see how many days it takes them to ask.) We will go to the library for books or use our computers at home to research ideas. The boys can hand write or type their work. (I hoped this would encourage J a little.) If they choose not to write, they must work on a merit badge. Little do they know, most merit badges take a fair amount of writing. J thought the merit badge idea was awesome. Ha ha!
In the meantime, I have my schedule, sort of, and the boys have some freedom, sort of. I'm just hoping to bypass my summertime blues quickly. It usually takes me a couple of days to relax. Then after my daily scheduled time of running errands and writing, I'll find a hammock, a good book, and try to enjoy my summer!
Corrina L. Terry Copyright 2013 Photo credit: www.beachbayonet.com
Song quote: Eddie Cochran & Jerry Capehart, "Summertime Blues," 1958.
As you can probably tell from the title and the pic above, this post is about Spring Cleaning or "What-Better-Things-Do-I-Have-to-Do-on-My-Spring-Break???" I really do have better things to do (like write, read books, and catch up on my Netflix list), but the work needs to get done before I can play. We've been cleaning up and clearing out since Friday when I got home from work. I always have my little list of chores to tackle over Winter/Spring/Summer breaks; this was no exception.
As I was eyeballing the things I needed to clean/remove, my husband made a small comment about the "clutter" of pictures and knick-knacks around our family room. (I had been looking at the build-up of old magazines on the coffee table.) I took offense. I really shouldn't have. He wasn't trying to be mean, but I didn't feel good and I hate change, so I freaked out just a little. Anyway . . . after I calmed down, I realized he was right. I removed a majority of the photos and knick-knacks and it looks cleaner in there, plus there's less to dust!
Why did I mention dust??? Have I ever told you that I DETEST dusting? I pay/bribe my kids to dust for me. They are boys. They don't really like it either, but they like the $$$ I offer or the treats I provide. If they won't do it, which is a lot lately come to think about it, it doesn't get done very often. Our little old house has little old windows that welcome the desert dust in with open arms. Heck, they throw parties!
So here I am on my Spring Break, DUSTING (gag) and clearing out stuff, and wiping baseboards (who invented those stupid things???) and my son tells me my hands are all rough and I notice my nails are chipped and gross looking, and I'm sneezing (a cold + allergies), and I want to quit, but I don't. (Deep breath.) The house looks better. My shoulders feel lighter with less stuff in our house, and I feel good giving things away to a better cause.
So Spring Break Cleaning, bring it! We're almost done clearing out! We're almost done dusting! (Even if it will be dusty again tomorrow.) And dog-gone-it, we're happy with the results!
My students wrote narrative poems for a unit we worked on this month. I usually write along with them, not only because it helps me see how hard/easy the assignments are, but because I can also give them my honest opinion on how to complete it. This narrative poem was no exception and I was secretly pleased with my poem. I thought it would be fun to share it with you.
Josh rode his silver scooter
back and forth,
back and forth,
in the open courtyard.
In a blink,
he was gone.
I asked my husband,
"Where did Josh go?"
"I think he fell. I heard a noise," was his reply.
We watched the video on forgiveness below in Young Women's class Sunday. I used it in our Family Home Evening lesson tonight. It made me cry both times.
Forgiveness has been on my mind lately, as I strive to forgive people in my life and in Steve's life who have hurt us. I know it's important to forgive others, for my own spiritual growth, but also because it's a commandment from our Heavenly Father. It isn't always easy though.
While I consider myself a fairly forgiving person, the kind man in this Mormon Message is one of the most forgiving people I've ever heard of. This story of his experience in forgiveness amazed me.
So my sister, Nikki, left three books for me at my mom's house to take home and read. One glance at the covers (picture of an Amish girl) and I thought, "Hmmm. Probably boring, but we'll see."
Turns out they were great!
I have weird taste in books. I usually like mysteries, but will read just about anything that doesn't have graphic sex and loads of cussing in it. It HAS to have an interesting story. So my favorite authors range from Jane Austen to Clive Cussler to Beth Revis to Janet Evanovich. It depends on my mood.
I started the first book in by Cindy Woodsmall's series and couldn't put it down. I finished all three in a week. Woodsmall weaves a story of love, loss, family dynamics, religion, the Amish culture, and does an amazing job!
One quote from the second book, "When Morning Comes," caught my eye. The main character, Hannah, has endured some pretty heavy stuff. Her parents have abandoned her, her community thinks the worst of her, and the man she loves wants nothing to do with her, so she left her familiar life for life out in the Englischers. (Yes, that is the correct spelling.) She slowly finds her way outside of the life she's known, but she feels torn.
Here's the quote:
"The world she now lived in and the one she'd been raised in seemed to battle within her constantly. Each pulled her in an opposite direction, as if she were the rope in a tug of war." (p. 268)
I read that and it hit a nerve with me. I've felt that way since I started teaching seven years ago. The home I was raised in (and the lifestyle I had grown accustomed to) is not the one I have today. I admit I was pretty spoiled growing up. I thought things were going to turn out differently.
I have felt a change happening within myself.
Part of it is getting older and my body changing, as well as my kids getting older, but the rest of it is having a career that is tugging me to become someone different than I was. It's not a bad thing, but it's uncomfortable. Who likes that much change?
I planned on being a stay-at-home-mom like my mom was and having a passel of kids. I planned on staying out of the world and living in my bubble of life with my kids and hubby. That didn't happen.
I planned on being a totally different person. Nicer. Saner. No luck.
My dad bugged me for YEARS to become a teacher. I tried the major at BYU and nothing really clicked for me, so I earned an English degree instead. Little did I know, twelve and a half years later, I'd use that degree to become a teacher!
Being a teacher is part nature, part battle for me. I'm the oldest of five kids and naturally bossy, so that part comes easy. The secretarial stuff (taking roll, grading, creating lessons, attending meetings, etc.) is a breeze. The actual teaching is like breathing. I love it. It flows out of me. But teaching itself is just a small part of what I do each day.
Part of the battle is the disciplining part.
Not my favorite part.
Avoiding confrontation used to be something I was good at.
Not any longer. I have confrontations with students (and sometimes parents and teachers) daily. This has helped me with my own children though. It's been a blessing really.
Am I better off than I thought I'd be? Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually--- yes. I feel like I'm doing what Heavenly Father wants me to do. I'm in the right place at the right time. I read today that opposition is something we encounter daily to help us grow. We have to have it to grow.
I've noticed my boys need my time less and less. Turning twelve and thirteen last year changed their lives and mine. They're suddenly busy with Young Men's (church group) or Mutual (combined Young Men-Young Women church group), sports, music, and their friends more and their dad and me less. They can cook/prepare their own snacks and most meals, even if they don't want to. They're pretty much self-sustaining, except for the daily reminder to shower and used deodorant. ;o)
Their idea of a fun Friday night isn't watching a family movie with us anymore, but playing Xbox, watching a movie they like, hanging out with guys their own age, or listening to their IPods. Childhood things are tucked away, and teenage activities have taken their place. I have to wince a little over this.
My life prior to this period revolved around what my boys wanted or needed to do each day. I'm a "hands on" mom---I took them to the library, enjoyed the kid programs there and helped them pick out books. I drove them to the park, pushed them on swings or played referee between them and their cousins. They enjoyed going grocery shopping with me and fought over who would push the cart. I came up with fun activities for Saturdays and days off from school. We explored museums, bird sanctuaries, and skate parks. I had grown used to being there for them all of the time and thinking things wouldn't change.
Now they don't need me to watch them every second of the day or even want to hang out with me 24/7 anymore. Seems like a good thing to most parents, right?
Still . . .
Having no younger children has left me at a precipice. What to do with this free time? I have felt a real loss. Actual tears have been shed. Finding a way to channel my helpful "mom" energy has been a challenge.
I miss being needed by little people. I guess it's a good thing I'm a teacher. I channel some of it into helping my students. Some of it has gone into cleaning my house better. (Ugh.) Some has gone into my lessons with the Young Women at church. Steve and I go on more dates and spend more time together at home than we used to. I've read gobs more books and watched even more movies and "Poirot" episodes.
Steve's been really supportive through this crisis of mine and has encouraged me in writing. I think he's got the right idea. I would love to finish the two stories I've started. I think writing about funny things that happen in life would be a kick. So, who knows? I've always believed that when one door closes, God opens another one. It's just not usually the door I would've picked. In this case, I don't have much of a say in keeping my kids little.
If you know me at all by now, you know I'm a mom to two boys and we're a blended family. Never in a million years did I think I'd only physically bear one child and become a stepmother to another! It has been a learning experience for all of us. There are absolutely amazing days and darn difficult days, but thinking back to my own childhood, probably not too much different from a non-blended family, except that there are more people (bio parents, grandparents, etc.) and feelings involved.
I love my kids and my hubby. I pray for them every day, sometimes several times throughout the day, depending of much patience I have. ;o) As the boys grow older, I worry about how well I've done as a parent, and am sometimes kept awake at night thinking about what I could've done differently. But peace is found after prayer and the acceptance that my boys learn from their mistakes and they have lots of love and support from Steve and me.
My guys give me more happiness and pure joy in watching them accomplish things than they will ever know. For a girl who dreamed of having three or four kids, and at least 1 girl, Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when He gave me my guys.
Copyright 2013 Corrina L. Terry
Photo: Corrina L. Terry, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, NV, 1/13.
This evening I learned one of my Laurels is not really interested in Christ or the gospel anymore. It tore a piece of my heart. Who could turn from Christ?
A Laurel is a girl in our church between the ages of 16-18. Her age alone, you might say, would be answer enough for my question. True. I can hope she will come back. I can pray she does. Then it hit me. "Call her."
"Who, me Lord?" I asked. And so my conversation with my Heavenly Father began.
"Yes. You, Corrina."
"She won't listen to me. She doesn't know me well enough or trust me yet."
"Of what? A girl?"
"Yes. I've opened myself up to her and the other girls I teach week after week. What if she throws it in my face?"
"How . . .?"
I picked up the phone and called before I lost my nerve. Her mother answered and told me to try in an hour. She'd be home. She also wished me luck.
I tried in an hour and a half. (I said I was nervous!) No answer. It went straight to voicemail. I left a message.
No call back from mother or daughter.
I tried again an hour later. This time it rang. My heart jumped. I swallowed nervously. Mother answered and took the phone to daughter.
Here is the gist our conversation.
"Hi! It's Sister Terry! How are you?"
"Okay, I guess."
"Is everything going ok?"
"Yeah. I'm just going through some stuff."
"Anything I can help you with?"
"No. Not really."
Silence. (I was hoping she'd open up a little. Nope. She was quiet.)
"Well, . . . I called to ask your help. I'm giving the lesson on Sunday, you know how the new lessons don't have manuals? I'm asking the girls in class to each read, ponder, and pray about a scripture, then come to class prepared to share your thoughts and feelings. Could you help me? Will you be there on Sunday?"
Silence a second too long.
"I'll try." (Less than enthused.)
"Thank you! The scriptures are---wait. I'll wait for you to get a pen. Let me know when you're ready."
Noise in background as she searches for a pen. Finally after some time a pen is found. She's ready.
"Matthew 11:28-30 and John 14:27."
After some further small talk, I told her we missed her and loved her and looked forward to seeing her on Sunday. She was less than enthusiastic.
I am hopeful. I'm also an optimist.
I pray about the scriptures I assign to the girls each week. You may wonder what her scriptures said. They are:
"28 ¶aCome unto me, all ye that blabour and are heavy laden, and I will give you crest.
"27 aPeace I leave with you, my bpeace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be ctroubled, neither let it be afraid."
Was God guiding me tonight or what?
After we hung up, I was shaking and couldn't help but cry a little. Not about her brusque manner with me, but because she leaving the light and walking out into the dark. I know that God loves her. I know that His Son, Jesus Christ, loves her too, and she's turning her back on both of them. The two people (at her age) she should be turning to most! Why???
I hope she comes to our class on Sunday. I pray she does! I pray she reads those scriptures and is brought closer to the Spirit, who will in turn, bring her closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We'll see what Sunday brings.
Copyright 2013 Corrina L. Terry
Photo & Scriptures: www.lds.org
Why call them "New Year's Resolutions?" Shouldn't they be called, "Corrina's Resolutions" or "My Resolutions?" It's not the New Year that wants to make changes. It's me.
I usually make a few resolutions every year. This year, I plan on keeping up my usual running, reading, writing, etc., but my biggest resolution is to SLOW DOWN.
I find myself running 60 miles an hour every single day. By Friday after school, I am exhausted, run down, and miserable. (And that's going to sleep every night by 10pm and waking up at 5:20am. That's 7 1/2 hours of sleep! I could get more sleep, but I think that should be enough.) No more dragging. I can't take it another week.
So . . . here's my plan.
1. DE-stress. Don't worry so much about EVERYTHING. I can't solve every students' problems. I can't save the world. I can solve my sons' problems and my hubby's problems though. Don't take everything so seriously. The world will not end if my house is still a construction zone a year from now.
2. Make sure I'm eating good foods every 2 hours. (Low blood sugar issues that leave me up and down all day. Eating regularly helps keep my moods even.)
3. Still go to sleep by 10pm; earlier, if I can.
4. Continue to take the guys to their music lessons and Mutual. Smile about it. This time with them is fleeting. Some of the best conversations I've had with them has been in the car driving them somewhere.
5. Remember the beauty around me through what I see or through my memories.
6. Slow down.