The Difference

Sometimes I wonder if I matter.  With so many people are earth, how could I possibly make a difference in anything.  I have thought about this A LOT through the years because I feel like sometimes we are always told that we are special or that we were put in places to do the most good.  Well, sometimes I don’t feel like that at all.  I don’t feel special sometimes because I know lots other people that could do what I am doing and do it better. I recognize that this is a huge trigger point for me and when I am feeling this way, I know that Satan doesn’t want me to dig out of the hole.  BUT, this week my mind has changed for the better.

First, a man I looked up to, admired, and loved died this week.  He was an example of true love for family and for reaching out to people.  He reached out and has since changed my family because of his willingness to include and love those around him.  He is a champion for his family and will be forever.  As I attended his funeral, I looked around at the people and tried to think about how he affected each one of those people.  He was just one person, but he made a difference for hundreds.  Heaven is a better place with my friend, Joe.

This week they also found the body of Annie Schmidt.  As I was thinking about why this affected me so much, my mind jumped to this fact…she was just one person but hundreds, if not thousands, were looking for her, praying for her and her family was aching without her.  All of those people that looked for her on that mountain came because Annie made a difference to them.  She was just one person, but has touched many around her.

So, do I make a difference?  I know that I make an immediate difference in the lives of 4 people every day.  My husband probably would just eat frozen burritos every day, if I weren’t around and the love that I have for my kids is more than I can express with words and I know they feel it.  Like I said before though, I didn’t always feel like I was making a difference.  Growing up I was painfully aware of my shortcomings and would shy away from things and always focus on what was “wrong” about me or what I “needed” to do better.  I was never smart enough, pretty enough, popular enough, outgoing enough, or anything enough.  So, to all of those people who put up with me, thanks.  Thanks to my parents (who still put up with me), my siblings (who still put up with me), my neighbors, my high school friends, my college roommates, my mission companions, and many more roommates along the way.  You made a difference to me.  You collectively are many, but individually you made the difference for me one-on-one.  So, yes I do matter, I do make a difference, as small as it may seem.  Sometimes it takes a long time to see that you did make a difference (insert parenthood), but I am grateful for all of you along the way. And I am grateful to make a difference in the lives of those four important people.

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Yes, I still struggle with feeling that I am never good enough and the rest of the blah, blah, blah…but I can choose to reach out and include people, to help people, to serve them, to make them some rolls, and to be there for others when many times I felt there was not anyone physically there for me.  I can choose to be a better person by giving of myself and sharing and giving what I have, even if it is a hug or a smile.

So, remember….YOU make a difference, you make the difference.

Strawberries and Shrimp

I am allergic to shrimp.  If you want to be more technical, I am really allergic to shell fish.  And you know what?  I am glad.  Shrimp, especially, always freaked me out.  It just seemed wrong.  Actually, I adopted a line from “Finding Nemo” which I repeated often, “Fish are friends NOT food.” Ok, so you got me.  I actually do like fish, but shrimp is another matter.  So imagine my surprise when my daughter’s 1st grade teacher asks me about a “real pet shrimp”.  Haha.  The definition of REAL for my little silly is a little stuffed shrimp (that is in reality a lobster) whom she named, Shrimp-loctaver.

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Well, this past summer we learned that one of my kids is allergic to strawberries.  That is right, strawberries.  It is really sad because everyone else wants to just gobble them all up.  But it was not something that I really wanted to mess around with because every time they were eaten by said kid, throw up would ensue and dry heaving for HOURS!!!!  It was horrible.  Every time my kid saw strawberries it was like replaying the sad part in a movie.

So what is the difference?  I am actually happy about not eating shrimp, but my kid is terribly sad about it.  And that is where the thought comes in about why not having it (the offending food) makes us better.  We tend to avoid things that we don’t like, but what if there is something that you really do like but when you partake in it, you end up dry heaving for hours.  It is a lot like life. There are just some things that I can stay away from no problem and that helps me to become better.  But there are some things that I REALLY like but that are not good for me physically, mentally, or emotionally, but I still partake in them. Sometimes it is hard to protect from an offending food, but what precautions will you take to stay away from the trigger?

What is your weakness?  What are you willing to do without to make you a better you? Are you willing to put a measuring guide up before you choose?  What will be on your list of blessings?   I choose no shrimp, I choose more sleep, and I choose to do the best that I can every day.

Keeping up with the reading habit

First of all, thank you to all of you who have reached out to me about concern for my daughter.  We have definitely felt your prayers this past week.  Some days are harder than others, but we are fighting the battle!  Thank you so, so much.  You don’t know how much it has meant to me!

When I was little I couldn’t get enough of reading.  I hid a flashlight in my bed, between the side of the bed frame and the mattress, and would get it out almost EVERY night and read.  Sometimes I would put a sheet over the top of me and let the flashlight light up my little cave.  Other times I would just bust out the flashlight and get to the task at hand.  I couldn’t tell you now what books I was reading but I can tell you how important reading was to me.  It kinda goes with out saying that it drove my mom crazy.  Many nights my reading party was interrupted by my mom.  She never took the flashlight away though, I always wondered why, but I think she was trying to tell me that she trusted me to do what I knew I should, and I usually did.

Fast forward to my life now, as a parent.  My six-year-old taught herself how to read when she was two.  It was a surprising revelation to learn that she could read.  We were at my mom and dad’s house and my mom had her old-school “Dick and Jane” books out.  My mom was a reading teacher in an elementary school, so naturally she got to work with said two-year old.  The only problem was, my mom didn’t have to do anything except point to the words and our daughter was reading.  I remember thinking, “what just happened?”  My husband got out his phone to capture the moment on camera and I just kinda of sat there stunned.  I remember my mom looking up at me with this look on her face which said it all…”You have no idea what you are in for.”  Well, she was right.

Guess what my sweet daughter figured out when she was four (way earlier that I thought of it)–night time reading parties.  She would get really clever with her use of a flashlight though, since she didn’t have access to them.  She would use her turtle nightlight (her name is Sprinkly), she would sit really close to the plugged in night light, and she would sneak things into her room that had some sort of light on them.  Sometimes it was just plain amusing and other times I was thinking, “now I know how my mom felt.”  Isn’t it funny how some things come back to bite you in the behind.

Mostly, I didn’t mind, until she started school and the next day it was obvious that she did not get enough sleep.  Part of the nightly bed time ritual now, is to check for books and make them unavailable until the next day.

I love that she loves to read.  I love to read.  Some days I long to sit down on the couch by her and we are each reading our separate books, but are together doing something that we both love.  She is definitely my daughter in that aspect.  I can usually tell when she has had a hard day at school or has had to be really social at school because at home she takes respite in getting lost in a book to recharge.  I love when she reads to her younger brother and sister and that her excitement for reading has them trying to aspire to learn.  We have lots of books in our house and the library is a common staple, reading together is a cherished time for every one.  My youngest loves for anyone to read to her.  Lately I have found her pulling off book after book from the book shelf “reading” in her own two-year old way.  I love to see the piles of books around her.  My little guy is learning sight words now and actually teaching someone how to read is new territory for us.  He is doing great for a four-year old and he gets so excited when he knows words and is “reading”.  Reading is an important skill.

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “I cannot live without books.”

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